THE MASQUE OF MANDRAGORA

Part One

Sue: New font. I don’t like it.
Me: It’s Cantoria Bold.
Sue: It’s Cantoria Boring.

The Doctor and Sarah are exploring the TARDIS when they stumble across its boot cupboard.

Sue: So that’s where the Doctor keeps his own chroma studio. Look at all that lovely CSO.

The Masque of MandragoraSue isn’t impressed with the Doctor’s housekeeping, either.

Sue: He could do with a part-time cleaner. Look at all the dust on his round things.
Me: Roundels.
Sue: It bet he hasn’t been down this corridor with a hoover in centuries.

The Doctor and Sarah stumble into the secondary console room, which Sue adores. But of course she does, it’s made of WOOD!

Sue: It’s very cosy. I love the stained glass. This suits Tom Baker down to the ground.

Sue picks up on the reference to Patrick Troughton when Sarah finds a recorder, and she’s convinced that the dusty, pink shirt once belonged to Jon Pertwee, but before we get can into why we haven’t seen this room before – especially if all the other Doctors have used it – the TARDIS is attacked by an unseen force.

Sue: Nice camera movement. Have the BBC actually splashed out on a jib?

The Masque of MandragoraThe TARDIS hurtles down a crystalline tunnel.

Sue: It’s Diamonique Hour on QVC.

Our heroes step into a black void, and when a ball of red light suddenly appears, they hide behind the TARDIS to escape its attention.

Sue: Shut the ****ing door!

The Doctor warns his companion about the dangers of Helix energy.

Sue: Yes, and it just flew straight into your TARDIS, mate.

As the TARDIS leaves the Helix behind, the sound of demonic laughter rings out.

Sue: Is it the Master?

Meanwhile in 15th century Italy…

Sue: I’ll probably like this one. Nice location. Period costumes. You know, Neil, real things. I like the historical ones.

When Count Federico enters the town of San Martino on horseback, Sue knows exactly where this story takes place: Wales.

The Masque of MandragoraSue: Is this Portmerion?
Me: I am seriously impressed, Sue.
Sue: You’ve made me watch The Prisoner more times than I care to remember. The building with the green dome is what gave it away. I’m surprised you haven’t dragged me there for a holiday.
Me: I’ll take you as soon as this is over. We can re-enact scenes from this story if you like.

Sue gives me one of her looks.

Sue: Yeah, it could be part of our ongoing counselling, along with you burning your Doctor Who DVDs on a bonfire. I’m looking forward to it.

Count Federico and the young Prince Giuliano are bickering over the body of a recently deceased Duke. The court astrologer, Hieronymous, insists their ruler’s death was foretold in the stars.

Sue: Giuliano doesn’t sound like a British name to me.
Me: Maybe that’s because we’re in Italy.
Sue: Oh, well in that case, why isn’t anyone speaking with an
Italian accent? That’s a bit lazy, isn’t it?

Giuliano’s best friend is a man named Marco.

Sue: The bloke with the ginger hair doesn’t look very Italian, either. He looks Scottish to me. Who cast this?

Federico tells Hieronymous to foretell Giuliano’s imminent death.

The Masque of MandragoraSue: Hieronymous can’t be the Master. The Master wouldn’t be seen dead with a beard like that.

The TARDIS materialises in a nearby wood, and it takes all of 30 seconds for Sarah to be kidnapped.

Sue: That has to be a new record.

The Doctor intervenes, but he’s rendered unconscious with a blow to the head.

Sue: That was a canny thump. I wouldn’t be surprised if that gave him brain damage.

With the Doctor out cold, the Helix energy emerges from the TARDIS.

Sue: I knew it! This is what happens when you don’t shut the bloody door. I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often.

It doesn’t take long for an innocent bystander to die horribly.

Sue: This is the Doctor’s fault. What a berk.

The Doctor comes to his senses and runs into Captain Rossini and his horsemen. They threaten to arrest him, so he spooks their horses with a football rattle. Then he steals a horse and rides off.

Sue: That isn’t Tom Baker. The wig isn’t quite right. He looks more like Malcolm McLaren.

Sarah is brought before the cult of Demnos.

Sue: Hang on, is this a sequel? Isn’t there a Jon Pertwee story called The Demnos? It really is the Master, isn’t it?

The Masque of MandragoraCount Federico sentences the Doctor to death for spying.

Sue: Nice cliffhanger. I like the way the executioner moved his arm in time with the theme music. Who directed this one?

The appropriate credit appears.

Sue: Rodney Bennett. That name rings a bell.
Me: Well, aside from directing The Ark in Space and The Sontaran Experiment, he also shares his name with a rival school in Grange Hill, but since you never watched that, you’re probably mistaking him for the composer Richard Rodney Bennett. Either way, this conversation is going nowhere.

 

Part Two

The Masque of MandragoraThe Doctor escapes execution, mainly thanks to his scarf.

Sue: That was fun. A bit silly, but fun.

The Doctor flees through a market.

Sue: This looks great, but the white cladding on that wall isn’t right for this period. They’re trying to hide it behind some material, but the wind’s blown it away. What a shame.

The Doctor follows a man dressed in a purple cloak and a gold mask through the catacombs.

Sue: Could this bloke walk any slower? Has he got sciatica or something?

Sarah is definitely going to be sacrificed. Honest.

Sue: She’s been lying on that table for hours. They’ve been waving a knife above her head for so long now, she’s actually bored. She should have been killed ages ago. And why do the bad guys always have to do a little dance first?

The Doctor drags Sarah away from the sacrificial altar.

Sue: They’re trying to lighten the mood with comedy parp-parp music. Wow.
Me: Comedy parp-parp music? That’s classic Dudley Simpson!
Sue: (Ignoring me) Marco and Giuliano are definitely a couple. The first thing Giuliano should do when he’s in charge is change the same-sex marriage laws.

The Masque of MandragoraBack in the catacombs, a booming voice gives everyone the willies.

Sue: The alien talks as slowly as this bloke walks. They are the perfect couple. If they did everything at normal speed, this episode would only be 10 minutes long.

Aside from that, I can tell Sue is enjoying The Masque of Mandragora.

Sue: It looks good, the performances are interesting, and the plot is reasonably straightforward – although I haven’t got a clue what Helix energy is supposed to be, or what it wants. But that’s okay.

The Doctor races back to the catacombs.

Sue: I keep expecting him to run into Patrick McGoohan coming the other way.

The episode ends with Sarah back in the cult’s clutches.

Sue: I enjoyed that.
Me: You didn’t say a lot.
Sue: That’s because I’m enjoying it too much. Sorry.

 

Part Three

The Masque of MandragoraThe Doctor is attacked by a strange noise in the catacombs and it’s up to Giuliano to keep four swordsmen at bay.

Sue: Come on! They could take him. Look at him. He looks like he’s never picked up a sword before.

The Doctor lends Giuliano a helping hand.

Sue: Malcolm McLaren is back. This sword fight isn’t very good. Either the stuntmen are rubbish or the guards are rubbish. Either way, their hearts aren’t in it.

Sarah is bound and gagged and taken to Hieronymous’ chambers, where the mad astrologer holds a vial under her nose.

Sue: Is he going to waterboard her?

Meanwhile Count Federico bollocks Captain Rossini for failing to apprehend the Doctor.

Sue: He needs to work on his management skills. Calling someone a “dung-head” isn’t going to do him any favours in the long run. I bet he stabs him in the back at the end.

Once again, Sue falls under this episode’s spell, and it takes something really special to provoke a reaction out of her. Like Dudley’s obsession with vibraslaps, for instance.

Sue: Are these catacombs infested with rattlesnakes?

The Masque of MandragoraFederico tortures Marco, hoping he will betray Giuliano.

Sue: Marco will never lie about Giuliano. He loves him too much for that. This is quite touching, actually.

The Doctor is apprehended by Rossini’s men, despite putting up quite a fight.

Sue: Jon Pertwee would have been proud of that kick to the face.

The Doctor is chained to a wall next to Sarah. He says he knew Sarah was under Hieronymous’ hypnotic control because she asked him how she could understand Italian when she knows full well that it’s a Time Lord gift he shares with her.

Sue: I thought the TARDIS did that? That’s a bit vague.

Federico unmasks Hieronymous, who turns out to be a monster with a burning sun for a face.

The Masque of MandragoraSue: Very good.
Me: Really? I’m surprised.
Sue: It’s pure energy, isn’t it? What do you want it to look like? It makes sense to me, and it doesn’t look too silly. It’s quite unsettling, actually. I’m enjoying this.
Me: I know. You hardly said a word again.
Sue: It’s good! What more do you want me to say?

 

Part Four

Nicol is pestering us to watch the latest Game of Thrones.

Me: You’ll have to wait. We have to watch this episode of Doctor Who first.
Sue: You’ll like it, Nicol. It’s a bit like Game of Thrones.
Nicol: Yeah, of course it is.
Me: Although with less incest.
Sue: Yeah, but just as much homoeroticism.

Nicol wants to know why Sarah is auditioning for a role in The Sound of Music. And then she starts rambling on about Sarah’s clothes, but this was so mind-numbingly boring, I couldn’t bring myself to take notes.

Sue: It’s a lot scarier when the villains are real people. I’ll take a mad monk in a mask over a plastic monster any day of the week.

Nicol wants to know if Tim Pigott-Smith is Benedict Cumberbatch’s dad.

Me: No. But his mum will be along in a couple of weeks.

Hieronymous fires Helix energy out of his fingers.

Sue: George Lucas must have seen this. The villain even wears a mask.

The Masque’s attendees are struck down by energy bolts.

Sue: Have all the best minds in Italy just been killed? That can’t be good, can it?

It turns out the Doctor was impersonating Hieronymous the whole time.

Sue: Since when has he been able to do that? Is he an intergalactic Mike Yarwood, now?
Me: You should hear his Davros, it’s hilarious.

The Masque of MandragoraThe Doctor leaves the planet with a grin on his face and some salami in his pocket (a reward for saving the world).

Sue: It’s more than he usually gets, I suppose.

The Doctor tells Sarah that the Mandragora Helix will attempt to conquer the Earth again at the end of the 20th century.

Sue: They’ve set it up nicely for a sequel.

 

The Score

Sue: That was very nearly the second 10 out of 10 in a row, but the ending let it down. It was a bit rushed and anticlimactic, although I’m getting used to that. I can’t fault the rest: great location, sets, costumes, performances, script. And the lighting was excellent, too. Yeah, I liked it a lot. It was very accessible, too. If only it had the same pace as The Seeds of Doom.

9/10

 

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Comments

  1. Sammy  May 16, 2012

    Can I just say, this is one of my all-time favourite websites? I’m relatively new to Who, did my first complete watch over the last couple of years. Looking forward to revisiting it, but it’s great to hear the views of another new person: unaware of long-held dusty theories on what’s good and what’s bad, enjoying all the eras for their individual advantages. Love it!
    (And, for the origin of Magnitude, even more so…)

  2. selia_lahugeea  May 16, 2012

    I suppose one of the problems with Sue enjoying these stories so much is the lack of mug quotes…

  3. Doctor Whom  May 16, 2012

    ***Shut the ****ing door!***

    That is so right. When I was little, what scared me far more than monsters was when they’d land on some new planet and step out of the TARDIS without closing the door behind them. I was on edge worrying – no, don’t go off and explore without locking the TARDIS first. Anything could get inside.

    I’m sure there’s something embarrassingly Freudian in that. Maybe I’m missing the safety of the womb.

    • Frankymole  May 16, 2012

      That’s why I found Sutekh’s face appearing to Sarah in the console room to be utterly terrifying – he didn’t even need a door!

  4. Michael  May 16, 2012

    Bodes well for this season (probably my favourite). It should end up with a very good average based on this.

  5. James  May 16, 2012

    “It’s a bit like Game of Thrones. But with less incest and just as much homoeroticism.”

    That is the best description ever. It has to go on one of your mugs! 😀

  6. Sleazy Martinez  May 16, 2012

    God, purely by coincidence I watched part two of this story last night (I think I watched part one at Christmas, when I got the DVD) and have to say, despite the Tom + Lis + Bob ‘n’ Phil + Deadly + Terry Walsh in a wig, I found this really hard work. Which is odd, because I saw this on transmission and Tom could Do No Wrong at the time. Am I alone in thinking it’s a really weak season opener?

    Maybe it picks up in part three? I can’t remember.

  7. Dominic Francis  May 16, 2012

    Regarding Doctor Whom’s comment about leaving the doors open – I used to think exactly the same thing! In fact, there were many times as a child (Nightmare of Eden, Destiny of the Daleks) when I wished they would just stay in the TARDIS and lock the doors.

  8. Wholahoop  May 16, 2012

    ” Isn’t there a Jon Pertwee story called The Demnos? It really is the Master, isn’t it?”

    Well if that isn’t a perfect morsel for the trolls to bite onto, then I can’t think of a better one

    This is all going too well at the moment, I can’t wait till the lower points of the WIlliams era to see how Sue’s reactions compare to the current ones

  9. Alex_The_Geek  May 16, 2012

    Hope Sue isnt to disappointed when there is no sequel! Although the novel sequel is good.

    • Andrew Bowman  May 18, 2012

      Wasn’t a comic strip sequel as well? The Seventh Doctor, I think.

  10. John S. Hall  May 16, 2012

    At the risk of sounding like a font pedant…

    The name of the typestyle used on Seasons 14-17 is actually “Della Robbia”, not “Cantoria”, and I *adore* it.

    (There are minute differences between the two fonts — mainly in the capital “M” and “Q” — but they are virtually identical, I’ll admit.)

    • Andrew Orton  May 16, 2012

      The old RT website started the Cantoria lie, but it’s bollocks, sadly. Definitely Della Robbia Bold.

      • Dave Sanders  May 16, 2012

        “You’ve had this font redecorated, haven’t you…”

      • Simon Harries  May 16, 2012

        I was under the impression that the typeface goes by two names, one used more recently than the other. Just as “Helvetica” and “Swiss” refer to the same typeface, or “Profil” and “Decorated 035” which refer to yet another.

        • Alex Wilcock  May 16, 2012

          I don’t know if the font is Cantoria or Della Robbia, but I’ve always thought it looked cool, and naming the font after another Renaissance artist (the latter) is appropriate to the story…

        • Andrew Orton  May 16, 2012

          It’s more like the difference between Helvetica and Arial, if anything.

          • Neowhovian  May 17, 2012

            That is beautiful!

            I bow to the sheer awesome nerditude of your mad skillz!

          • Alex Wilcock  May 17, 2012

            Outstanding for me, too, Andrew – informative as well as a lovely design.

            To get perhaps too nerdy, I don’t suppose you know the font used in the early Target books (with some of the numbers dropped below the line, for example)…?

          • Leo  May 17, 2012

            What’s the font for the Moffat era titles?

          • PolarityReversed  May 17, 2012

            Times Old Roman OTT?

          • Simon Harries  May 18, 2012

            Thanks Andrew – a fascinating document 🙂

          • Daru  May 30, 2012

            Love your font table – I have always been a lover of Baskerville Old face.

    • encyclops  May 17, 2012

      Whatever it is, I agree, it’s gorgeous. I don’t know how much of that is down to having grown up associating it with Doctor Who, of course. There are a lot of fonts that were ubiquitous in the books I grew up loving that I love primarily due to nostalgia.

      • encyclops  May 18, 2012

        …that said, it’s hard to beat the Futura family.

        • John S. Hall  May 18, 2012

          And “Futura” is the font that was used throughout the RTD Era as well, so yeah…

          But various weights of Futura had been used for the credits since 1970, so it probably was time for a change.

          Interestingly enough — at least to fontaholics like myself, at any rate! — “Masque” marks the first time that a serif font had been used for the DOCTOR WHO credits. The monochrome era used condensed sans serifs (a Condensed Grotesque for Hartnell, and Eurostile Condensed for most of Troughton), and Seasons 7-10 were Futura Bold, while Seasons 11-13 were Futura Extra Bold.

          The thing I like about Della Robbia is its unabashed “romantic” feel, which meshes quite nicely with this period of DOCTOR WHO as it transitions out of the Hinchcliffe/Holmes/Gothic Horror period and into the Williams/”Tom Baker Show” era…

  11. jsd  May 16, 2012

    That’s cool that Sue found it so wonderful. Not nearly one of my favorite stories, I’d give it a 7. I loved the conversation about Game Of Thrones. (Less incest but same amount of homoeroticism.) Comedy gold!

  12. Steye Trimingham  May 16, 2012

    Bang on!

    I love a nice bit of death cult goth chanting and the Beeb always knew period detail. This and Talons of W C are the pinnacle of Hinchcliffe production ambition and great examples of Bob Holmes’ love of the baroque.

    Love almost meeting Galileo, but then just missing him. Another time, perhaps.

    I went with my wife to Portmerion this year and resisted pointing out all the Prisoner/Mandragora notable locations (well… most of the time).

    It’s beautiful and I’d highly recommend it for a romantic gettaway.

  13. Ian Marchant  May 16, 2012

    So the better the story the less mug quotes? Wow you’re going to have to open a bloody pottery when you get to the early McCoys!

    • John S. Hall  May 18, 2012

      I’d have said the majority of Eric Saward’s tenure as Script Editor, but horses for courses… 😉

  14. Matt Sharp  May 16, 2012

    ‘demonic laughter rings out’

    David Cameron did the same laugh whenever he was dictating an email to Rebecca Brooks, you know, his secretary just put it down as ‘LOL’.

    The pair of you seem to be preoccupied with sciatica at the moment, too – I hope you’re not waiting until Season 17 for foot rubs…

  15. David Embery  May 16, 2012

    The Sarah Jane Adventures – Secrets of the Stars is virtually a sequel with all the Mandragora references removed from the aliens’ motives to the beams firing from people’s fingers when controlled.

    • John G  May 16, 2012

      I can’t say I picked up on the connection, but that’s probably because I was too mesmerised by Russ Abbot’s dreadful performance in Secrets of the Stars!

      • David Embery  May 16, 2012

        I concentrated on the plot to avoid the performance. The whole thing is about stars being in a particular alignment, old powers not recognised by science and wanting to control the planet. I wish they had done it as a sequel as it would tie up the line at the end of Masque.

  16. Jazza1971  May 16, 2012

    Echoing earlier comments I know, but I did chuckle to myself when I read “Sue: Is it the Master?” That is as annoying as three billy goats trip-trapping over a bridge to some people!

    • PolarityReversed  May 17, 2012

      Sod’s law being what it is, she’ll just get to the point of not bothering to ask and then bam.
      There’ll be cushions before bedtime…

      • Richard Lyth  May 17, 2012

        I’m looking forward to the Davison era – every other story it’ll be “Is it the…never mind, of course it bloody is!”

        • Dave Sanders  May 19, 2012

          No, it’ll be “why is it the Master”.

  17. Andrew Orton  May 16, 2012

    Odd thing about Masque is that it so clearly wants to be Jacobean revenge drama – Hieronymous is taken from Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy, via Bosch; and the death of Guiliano’s father is cribbed wholesale from Hamlet – but then they don’t really do any revenge…

  18. Mrs Jo Smith  May 16, 2012

    The Helix did come back to Who, well in a way it featured in the 10th Doctor book “Beautiful Chaos” by Gary Russell.

    • John S. Hall  May 18, 2012

      There was also the Seventh Doctor/Mel graphic novel “The Mark of Mandragora,” as well as the second season of a certain Big Finish Productions audio range, about which I shall say no further lest I wander into “Spoilers, sweetie!” territory…

  19. John G  May 16, 2012

    Interesting that Sue didn’t seem to recognise Tim Pigott-Smith again – has she ever seen The Jewel in the Crown? I agree with her about the new font. I suppose they were trying to make the titles look a bit more Gothic, but they lack the boldness and immediacy of their predecessors. I have to say I’m not keen on the Season 14 console room either – it’s beautifully designed, but it’s just too dark and creepy for my liking, rather like the current one.

    Anyway, I’m delighted Sue liked the story, even if it did mean a shortage of quotable comments! This always seems to be one of the more overlooked Hinchcliffe adventures, but it doesn’t deserve to be. Like Sue, I am always a sucker for a period piece and the production values on Masque are exceptionally good for the classic series. The acting isn’t shabby either, and while the plot is nothing extraordinary it does make good use of the period setting. All in all, a fine start to what is probably Tom’s best season – I can’t wait to read what Sue makes of the next few stories!

    • P.Sanders  May 16, 2012

      Hmm, I fear the next story may lose marks for bad carpentry. I enjoy the story but a few of the sets are a bit ropey compared to other stories of the time (mainly the hospital in ep 1)

      • Dave Sanders  May 16, 2012

        What, not for bad physics?

        • PolarityReversed  May 17, 2012

          Or Andy-Pandy outfits?

  20. Alex Wilcock  May 16, 2012

    OK, so the t-shirt / mug quotes are rarer now, but I still laughed at:
    “Yeah, it could be part of our ongoing counselling, along with you burning your Doctor Who DVDs on a big bonfire.”

    Though how about:
    “Why do the bad guys always have to do a little dance first?”

    “Hieronymous can’t be the Master. The Master wouldn’t be seen dead with a beard like that.”
    Just wait until 1983.

    I’m most with Sue on the Part Three cliffhanger – that totally terrified me at the time, and it still looks great. With her on Marco and Giuliano and the homoeroticism as well, obviously.

    I go into that in more detail (unsurprisingly) in my own review of The Masque of Mandragora on DVD, along with how this is Doctor Who’s most flagrantly Gothic story so far (but only until a couple of stories’ time) and all the five sequels. Even the telly one with the serial numbers filed off.

    Incidentally, carpentry fans, Barry Newbery mirrored design for Giuliano’s room is taken from Carpaccio’s The Vision of St Augustine

    • Jamie  May 17, 2012

      “…the telly one with the serial numbers filed off”?

      • Alex Wilcock  May 17, 2012

        That would be (as suggested in other comments above and, indeed, in the link I provided just five lines up, had you wished to find out) The Sarah Jane Adventures’ Secrets of the Stars, which is a sequel in all but name (and copyright payments to the estate of Louis Marks).

        • Jamie  May 18, 2012

          I’m sorry but, being largely unfamiliar with the SJAs, can you please explain to me the meaning of having the numbers filed off?
          Something to do with production codes perchance?

          • Matthew  May 19, 2012

            Filing off the serial numbers is what a dodgy mechanic might do to disguise the origin of a stolen vehicle (or of part of one).

            “Secrets of the Stars” has an old astrological force trying to take over the world via a charlatan astrologer, but the Mandragora Helix is never mentioned.

          • Matthew  May 19, 2012

            To add to my reply – it looks like the origin of the phrase is probably to do with the filing off of serial numbers in guns to make them harder to trace. For example:

            http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090401180215AAoixaK

            As used in fanfiction and TV Tropes criticism:

            http://fanlore.org/wiki/Filing_Off_The_Serial_Numbers

            http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SerialNumbersFiledOff

            This kind of fan-based, crowd sourced critical vocabulary is quite interesting since the terms are more like memes or catchphrases than the summation of some rigorous critical thought that you might expect in an academic setting. I do worry that the application of these terms can sometimes get a bit flip and that spotting a pattern can take the place of some serious critical thought. My memory of “Secrets of the Stars” is that the similarities are only superficial and the underlying story is different enough to justify a separate entity. I doubt it will have come down to copyright, but I’d have to watch again to argue that in more detail – and I don’t think we really have space to do it here.

            The car analogy does also work, by the way:

            http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2005/dec/14/8

          • PolarityReversed  May 19, 2012

            Cut-and-shut stories? Where’s Boycie when you need him?
            Oh yeah, dragged under by a great wadge of pondweed last week.

            Isn’t Dr Who just a cheerful amalgam of everything from Homer to Asimov (even Eastenders) with the numbers filed off anyway?

  21. BWT  May 17, 2012

    I’d make a case for “Look at the dust on his round things” as well. Wouldn’t that make a conversation starter (or stopper) of a T-shirt?

  22. PolarityReversed  May 17, 2012

    A unique one for me, this. I managed to miss all but one episode back in the day – consequently, what little I did see I found all rather baffling. So I’m almost totally Suelike in my freedom from nostalgia.

    Comfortingly, I find it’s a winner on all counts. Thing like this, Robots and Talons just totally nail the potential of Dr Who for me. Sad that this was the last time we got to see Lis tied to something – she really was so fantastically good at it!

    PS I’m sure she occasionally got doped, ‘fluenced and tied to things in spinoffs, but I haven’t done them. I’m not being a canon nazi. I just haven’t done them.

  23. Marty  May 17, 2012

    So we can’t look forward to Adventures with the wife in the Village? Sad face.

    I don’t think there are any Doctor Who stories with incest.

    The TARDIS console room does look nice, but I think it needs a time rotor, without it you don’t know you’re in flight.
    Maybe that’s part of the problem, there are no doors in that console room, you just walk up the stairs and out into the world.

    Nice to see Sue enjoying an episode, see they’re not all totally dodgy.

    • Frankymole  May 17, 2012

      Well, Julian Glover and Jean Marsh tried to introduce the incest sub-plot (with thrones!) in “The Crusade” but Douggie wasn’t having it.

      Jean Marsh gets another go in “Battlefield” though (albeit with overtones of necrophilia, but since it’s Arthurian canon, they had to go with it). Perhaps a bit of luck she killed her bbrother in “Daleks’ Master Plan” or it could’ve got messy! He does crop up in her latter story but he’s the Brig by then so it’s okay.

    • John S. Hall  May 18, 2012

      I agree with you that, lovely as the Season 14 Console Room is, there’s just something… lacking.

      The absence of Time Rotor and big opening doors means that the whole thing is rather static and conveys a lack of motion, but these were two things that Hinchcliffe specified to Barry Newbury in the redesign — no moving Time Rotor (the motor of which kept breaking down), and no opening doors (which sometimes had to be opened and closed by stage hands, IIRC).

      And contrary to the popular legend that the wooden sets warped whilst in storage, I remember reading an interview with Barry Newbury which flatly contradicts this. He said that Graham Williams insisted on a return to the familiar white console room when he took over as Producer.

  24. Chris Too-old-to-watch  May 28, 2012

    So glad Sue liked this – one of my favourites.

    Just returned from USA – loads of cool Whostuff not available here…they love it, especially original series.