Part One

MeglosThe TARDIS is on its way to the planet Tigella. The Doctor has been there before.

Sue: It must have been uneventful or I’m sure I’d have been forced to sit through it.

On Tigella, three humanoids with blonde hair are trying to break into something.

Sue: Is it the Thals? Are the Daleks in this one? Have they finally learnt that it’s better if they don’t put their name in the title of the story?

A blonde scientist named Deedrix is arguing with a priest named Zastor about something named the Dodecahedron.

Me: Are you following any of this?
Sue: Nope.

In a nearby temple, the Priestess Lexa is kneeling on a small dais. Lexa is, of course, played by Jacqueline Hill.

Sue: She’s famous.
Me: Is she?
Sue: Yes, she is very familiar. It’ll come to me eventually.

I let her stew for a bit.

Back on the TARDIS, the Doctor and Romana are busy repairing K9.

MeglosSue: I still haven’t completely forgiven Romana for throwing that ball into the sea. I don’t know who I blame more: her for throwing it or K9 for chasing it. He’s a computer and should know better. Anyway, I prefer this voice. It’s so much better.

In a debating chamber on Tigella, the scientists (the Savants) and the Deons (the religious nutters) are still bickering over the Dodecahedron.

Sue: I’m not following this. I think I may have tuned out for a second and I lost the thread.
Me: It’s basically science versus religion and a powerful artefact that no one can explain.
Sue: I’m sorry, but I think I tuned out halfway through your explanation. Say that again, please.

We cut to the planet Zolfa-Thura. It’s a shit hole.

A spaceship touches down and a group of Gaztaks emerge.

Me: Do you notice anything interesting about this shot?
Sue: Yes, one of the actors just tripped over himself.
Me: Not that. Something else.
Sue: The CSO is really, really bad?
Me: Something else.
Sue: Oh, wait, yes – they’re moving the camera.
: It’s called Scene Sync. The BBC tested the technology on this story.
Sue: And what conclusion did they come to? That it’s shit? The keying is terrible. Episodes from the early 1970s had less fringing on them than this.

The Gaztaks are manhandling a man in a grey suit. He looks like he might work in a bank. So that’s alright, then.

Sue: Who the hell are this motley crew, anyway? Are they supposed to be Russian?

The Gaztaks enter a laboratory.

Sue: Is there a reason for the cactus in the background? Or were cacti big in the eighties? I forget.

Sue soon learns that the cactus is the eponymous Meglos.

Sue: Wait… the villain is a pot plant? Do me a favour!

Lexa, Zastor and Deedrix are bickering over the Doctor’s imminent visit.

Sue: She is very familiar. It’s doing my head in.

Come on, Sue, you can do it.

Sue: If only I could see her hair. If she wasn’t wearing that majorette’s hat I’m sure I’d recognise her.

Sue isn’t a fan of the haberdashery in this story. General Grugger’s head-gear is especially galling.

Sue: Is he wearing a silver jelly mould on his head? With a christmas tree ornament sticking out the top? That’s just weird.

MeglosMeglos gives the Gaztaks their orders.

Sue: I like the way they’ve positioned the lights behind the cactus so they look like his eyes.

You know, I’d never noticed that before.

Sue: He’s starting to get on my nerves, now.
Me: Who?
Sue: The one who can’t act.
Me: You’ll have to narrow it down a bit, love.
Sue: The one who looks like a drunken tramp that they dragged off the street. Are they paying him in methylated spirits?

Poor Frederick Treves.

Meglos instructs Grugger to initiate “the procedure”.

Sue: It’s a shit villain who can’t press their own buttons.

The human bank manager is placed into a chamber. He starts to jerk and shake as electricity surrounds him.

MeglosSue: (as David Byrne) “You may find yourself in a strange alien spaceship. And you may ask yourself – how did I get here?”
Sue: (as David Byrne) “That is not my beautiful wife! That is a ****ing cactus…”

Back on the TARDIS, Romana is still trying to fix K9. The Doctor trips over his apron.

Sue: He made a right meal of that.
Me: Shhh. This bit is very important.
Sue: If they put K9 down, I’ll stop watching.

Back on the TARDIS, Romana is still trying to fix K9. The Doctor trips over his apron.

Sue: He made a right meal of that.
Me: Shhh. This bit is very important.
Sue: If they put K9 down, I’ll stop watching.

Back on the TARDIS, Romana is still trying to fix K9. The Doctor trips over his apron.

MeglosSue: He made a right meal of that.
Me: Shhh. This bit is very important.
Sue: Bored, now.

As far as Sue is concerned, only one being in the universe has the power to do this to the Doctor:

Sue: It’s the Black Guardian. I told him not to fiddle with his randomiser. But would he listen? Would he ****.

The episode concludes with Meglos taking on the Doctor’s form.

Sue: Eh? This is bloody complicated.


Part Two

MeglosThe Doctor and Romana are trapped in a chronic hysteresis.

Sue: I had that once but antibiotics cleared it up.

Meglos has not only trapped our heroes in a fold in time, he has stolen the Doctor’s identity as well.

Sue: He’s quite powerful for a cactus that couldn’t press its own buttons a few minutes ago.

Meglos has something nasty in store for Tigella.

Sue: Tom’s eyes are different when he’s playing Meglos. That’s good acting, I guess. Either that or he had far too many drinks at lunchtime.

Lexa and Zastor bicker. It’s what they do.

Sue: It’s really bugging me, now. Who is she?
Me: I’m really disappointed in you.
Sue: She looks like Barbara, but I know it can’t be Barbara.
Me: Why not?
Sue: Because then she’d be Barbara, silly.
Me: The same actress could be playing a different role.
Sue: Don’t be stupid.

I’ll let her stew on that a little while longer.

At the city’s entrance, a female Savant named Caris meets Meglos pretending to be the Doctor.

MeglosSue: This lot’s hair is very Vidal Sassoon. I used to cut hair in that style all the time when I started hairdressing at 18. It would have been around the time of this story, funnily enough. Anyway, I was working at a place called Holga of Denmark in Newcastle, and there was this one week where Holga made me stand outside the shop in a wig just like that. I hated that wig so I resigned.

Damn. Bang goes my roleplay fantasy based on Gerry Anderson’s UFO.

The Doctor and Romana break out of the hysteresis by repeating their own lines. Badly.

Sue: I bet that’s what it was like in rehearsals.

Lexa meets with Meglos/the Doctor.

Sue: Oh, just tell me. For ****’s sake.
Me: It’s Barbara. Well, the woman who played Barbara – Jacqueline Hill.
Sue: I knew it! I bloody knew it!

MeglosShe’s pleased to see Jackie at first. But this doesn’t last long.

Sue: Why not just bring Barbara back? She’s wasted on this part. She’s still got it, you know.

Romana decides to change into something more comfortable.

Sue: I like that look. It’s palm reader meets pirate. And at least K9 has been allowed out. Hey! Stop slapping him on the nose!

Meglos reaches the Tigellan’s power room.

Sue: There’s a monster coming.
Me: Is there?
Sue: I can hear it.
Me: You can?
Sue: I think it might be a giant rattlesnake.
Me: That’s the incidental music, love.

MeglosMeglos steals the Dodecahedron.

Sue: The Doctor will get the blame for that. Then again, the Doctor gets the blame for everything, so it’s nothing new, really.

Romana is attacked by Tigella’s indigenous plant life but she manages to escape.

Sue: Did she just happen to be carrying a space spanner around with her? Where was she hiding it?

Lexa alerts the guards when she learns that the Dodecahedron is missing.

Sue: Is that an alarm?
Me: No, it’s the incidental music.
Sue: I miss Dudley. Hey, rewind that bit.

Her wish is my command.

Sue: There! Can you hear the Doctor Who theme music? Isn’t that unusual? Have they ever done that before? I like it.

The real Doctor turns up and he greets Zastor as if he were an old friend.

Sue: He should be greeting Barbara like an old friend. This isn’t right.

Meanwhile, outside the city, K9 is running out of juice.

Sue: Somebody should buy K9 some decent batteries. I’ve owned iPods that last longer than him.

Romana traipses through the jungle in search of the city.

MeglosSue: They are trying to make this place look bigger than it really is by having her walking around in circles. They’re trying their best. It’s not the greatest jungle set we’ve ever seen on Doctor Who, though. It’s too bright.

Romana is caught by the Gaztaks.

Brotadac: Kill her!
Sue: Is he Mexican all of a sudden?

The credits roll.

Sue: I can’t believe two people wrote this rubbish. Maybe that’s why it’s so bloody confusing.


Part Three

MeglosSue: How long is this recap? Jesus Christ. Can we fast-forward through this? Or I could pop out and make some tea.

The Savants don’t understand how anyone could have moved the Dodecahedron.

Deedrix: It’s incomprehensible!
Sue: Tell me about it, love! I haven’t got a ****ing clue what’s going on, either.

The missing Dodecahedron is really important when it comes to keeping the Tigellans alive.

Sue: I’m sure you can buy dodecahedrons from garden centres these days. I’m sure you can use them as mini-greenhouses. I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Just nip out and buy a new one. And get some weed killer while you’re at it.

The Gaztaks accuse Romana of leading them up the garden path.

Grugger: You’ve been leading us round in circles!
Sue: (As Romana) I have to. We keep running out of studio space. (as Sue) Were you still watching Buck Rogers when this story was on?
Me: Yes.
Sue: Good call.

MeglosMeglos, who now looks like the Doctor crossed with a cactus, struggles to stop the human banker who is trapped inside him from breaking free.

Sue: This is confusing enough as it is without it turning into a bloody threesome. Who the **** is he, anyway?

I try to explain it to her but give up halfway.

Me: Oh, **** it. I’m boring myself.

Lexa argues with the Doctor. The real one.

Sue: It isn’t right seeing Barbara shout at the Doctor like that. She should be helping him.

The Gaztaks are attacked by the plants of Tigella.

Sue: I’m getting a bit tired of man-eating vegetation in Doctor Who. They’re almost as bad as the miners.

Romana rescues K9.

Sue: Romana should have had her own show. She could have defeated aliens with her special space spanner. It would have been great. She isn’t bad for a posh lass.

The Doctor is led to the power room.

MeglosSue: (Singing) Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah Oh Superman.
Me: Yes, now that you mention it, the incidental music does bear any uncanny resemblance to the Laurie Anderson song. Well done.
Sue: Even the plinth is the same shape as the Superman logo. It has to be intentional.

The Gaztaks finally manage to extricate themselves from the killer plants.

Sue: I thought the plants were supposed to be lethal? They look like a mild inconvenience to me.

Caris finds herself trapped with Meglos.

Sue: Tom Baker is a bit randy when he’s playing Meglos. He keeps trying to paw her breasts. I bet he enjoyed this. He must have spent a long time in the make-up chair these last few weeks, what with this and the old-age make-up. It’s great make-up, mind. It’s just completely wasted on this story.

The Tigellan guards try to keep the Gaztaks out of the city.

Sue: It’s turned into Star Wars.

MeglosThe Gaztaks use a tree to batter down the door.

Sue: And the Russian pirates are playing the Ewoks.

Once inside the city, General Grugger gives K9 a good kicking.

Sue: Hey! That cost twenty grand!

Yes, Sue watched the documentary on The Leisure Hive where this fact was revealed to her. And yes, she really hates JNT now after some of the hurtful things he said about her favourite mechanical mutt. She’s not happy with Tom, either.

Lexa prepares to sacrifice the Doctor.

Sue: It’s Eyes Wide Shut. But less sexy. A lot less sexy. Like, this is the opposite end of the sexy spectrum. Just so we’re clear. Poor Barbara.

Meglos returns to the Gaztaks’ ship.

Sue: Office chairs and hoover attachments. Sorry, but it’s crap.

The Doctor is tied to a plinth. A large rock hangs above him.

MeglosSue: Is that why they wear red robes? They are going to be splattered in a minute and blood stains are a nightmare to get out.

They burn the first rope that is keeping the Doctor alive.

Sue: This should be a good cliffhanger.

The final rope is lit.

Sue: Yep. Well done. Nicely done.


Part Four

MeglosMe: The good news is this episode is only 19 minutes long.
Sue: So that’s 15 mins if you take out the recap. Marvellous.

Sue’s isn’t enjoying this.

Sue: It’s confusing. And it’s boring. And it’s doing my head in.

Romana rushes off to rescue the Doctor.

Sue: You are far too late, love. The Doctor is as flat as a pancake.

But the Doctor is very much alive and the rope is still burning.

Sue: Is it another chronicle hysterics? Or is the editor just shit?

Meglos returns to Zolfa-Thura with the Dodecahedron.

Sue: The keying is horrendous! Where have his legs gone?

Meglos’ complex rises from beneath the sand.

Sue: In your own time… And cut… Okay, and cut… Okay, show the whole thing. What do I care?

Meanwhile, Buck Rogers is disco dancing with scantily clad women in the 25th century.

Twikki: Bidi-bidi-bidi.

Barbara, sorry I mean Lexa, is killed by a Gaztak who didn’t even get any lines.

Sue: What a travesty. I only care about this character because she used to be Barbara.

But the Doctor can’t hang around to mourn.

MeglosThe Doctor: We’ve got other things to do.
Sue: What a prick.
Me: Wrong Doctor.

The Doctor and Romana take Deedrix and Caris to Zolfa-Thura in their TARDIS.

Sue: Why take these two jokers with you? What help are they going to be?

In the laboratory, Meglos prepares to unleash hell.

Meglos: Brotadac, we are about to release a power many magnitudes greater than any intelligence has ever controlled.
Sue: What kind of name is Brotadac?
Me: It’s another anagram. For bad actor.
Sue: Really? So did the writers already know that this actor was going to play him?
Me: No, they just assumed they’d hire a bad actor for the part.
Sue: Did the actor ever find out? He must have felt awful. I feel sorry for him now.
Me: Good.

The Doctor confounds a Gaztak by getting him to hold up a screen that doesn’t need holding up in the first place.

Sue: The jokes are few and far between in this story and I’ll take what I can get.

Romana decides to follow the Doctor.

Sue: She’s left the TARDIS door open. For ****’s sake.

A Gaztak attacks Meglos by accident.

Sue: Right in the nuts!

Another Gaztak attacks the Doctor.

Sue: Right in the nuts! Again! What are this lot called?
Me: Gaztaks.
Sue: They should have called them the Nut Punchers. Are they available as dolls?
Me: Not yet. Give it time.
Sue: When they are, they should release the limited edition Nut Puncher set. Just stick a cactus in it. Job’s a good ‘un.

MeglosThe Doctor and Meglos finally meet.

Sue: Tom is pulling out all the stops. He must really respect himself as an actor because he is bringing his A-game.

K9 zaps a Gaztak who is standing the ramp leading to his spaceship.

Sue: Okay, so who is going to move the body so K9 can get up that ramp? And why do I keep fixating on silly details like that?

Brotadac starts the countdown that will result in certain death for everyone.

Sue: He’d make a lousy bingo caller.

The human trapped inside Meglos breaks free and the villain ends up looking like green snot.

Sue: And I though the cactus was embarrassing.

Meglos returns to his laboratory and he reverts back to his cactus form.

Sue: He’s all stiff again. That’s one thing you can say about Meglos, he has staying power. Oh ****. They’ve blown him up.

The Doctor and Romana receive a summons from Gallifrey.

Sue: Oh, how exciting.

The story concludes with the Doctor promising to return the human back to Earth before he left it.

Sue: I wish I could return to a time before we started this story.
Me: Don’t be silly, then we’d have to watch it.
Sue: Good point.


The Score

Sue: Well, that was shit. The cactus make-up was pretty good and Tom Baker was above average, but that’s about it. What more do you want me to say? Poor Barbara.



Coming Soon




  1. Leo  August 16, 2012

    According to Flanagan and McCulloch, they did tell Frederick Treves in the bar about what Brotadac was an anagram of, and he was amused by the joke.

    This actually predates the Laurie Anderson record by about a year.

  2. Lewis Christian  August 16, 2012

    People slate the Guy Who Appears Next Time, but he’s actually good alongside Tom. Though the next few stories (up to Logop.) bore the shite out of me. Anyway, Meglos is saved for me thanks to Tom getting a different role. They’re finally giving him more to do, rather than just letting him be all silly.

    • James C  August 16, 2012

      Agreed. Especially when it is just the lad with Tom, it works.

  3. Ian Marchant  August 16, 2012

    This is one of those stories that you can’t remember any details about a few hours after watching it, which is always a bad sign. I get the same thing with ‘The Time Monster’.

    Hopefully Sue will enjoy the next one a bit more and I can’t wait for her reaction to Adric as read aloud by Matt Finish. (I refuse to call that acting)

    • encyclops  August 16, 2012

      Me too! I have the same problem: I’m sure I’ve seen this at least once, but I can’t retain it in memory at all. And yes, I have the same problem with The Time Monster: I’m told it’s supremely awful, but all I can remember are the big flapping thing, the minotaur, the Queen’s decolletage, and Benton as a baby. The story that ties them all together is just a hazy blur. Same for Frontier in Space (a Draconian’s face, Jo in a cell — and those are probably production stills in my head) and Ambassadors of Death. Some stories just like a low profile, I guess.

      I’m pretty sure I would have remembered this better if I’d liked it. I must say the still shots above make it look a lot cooler than it must be in motion, especially the banker/cactus, which actually looks kind of scary.

      Anyway, I can already feel the pain on its way. I love the next story for reasons I’ll explain then, and I’m in the extreme minority when I say that the next two companions to be introduced are in fact my favorites from the JNT era — which is not to say they’re great, but to me everyone else is either miscast, far more annoying, or ginger.

      • John G  August 16, 2012

        In fairness, most of Frontier in Space does consist of Jo being locked up in one cell or other…

      • Frankymole  August 17, 2012

        Or in one case, all three…

        Mind you, wasn’t Dr Liz Shaw ginger? And she was brilliant.

        • encyclops  August 18, 2012

          She certainly was, and the “ginger” thing was just a joke because although Turlough never really captured my imagination or loyalty, I really can’t think of a bad thing to say about him.

  4. Jane  August 16, 2012

    I don’t know why I like this one so much. I mean, I can tell it’s all a bit dreadful, but still…

  5. PolarityReversed  August 16, 2012

    Bidmead and his anagrams were news to me.
    How about “Cherish a morbid depth”?

    Meglos confused the hell out of me, and rather like the guys I couldn’t really be bothered to try and work it all out because I didn’t really care.

  6. Smith  August 16, 2012

    I like Meglos! It’s not perfect, I know, but I think it’s at least a good bit of fun.

  7. Jamie  August 16, 2012

    Nice to see you cropped the picture of The Doctor/Meglos above the level where the cactus cloves meet the forearms.

  8. Dave Owen  August 16, 2012

    Do you see my email address? ( I had no trouble obtaining it!

    I love the metatextual presentation of this instalment. I also love seeing the perspective of someone who hadn’t been primed by UK fan channels in 1980 to expect great and new things from the new production team. Meglos wasn’t allowed to be shit for me when I was watching it. It was only after getting to the end of the season that rankings and favourites could be applied and it took its place.

    I interviewed my near namesake Christopher Owen (Earthling / Meglos) at a convention a few years ago, before the DVD had been prepared, and he asked me whether the story was held in high regard. I tactfully and truthfully told. him it wasn’t thought a classic but that it had its admirers including me. I think it’s fun, and it’s interesting to mentally swap it with “Nightmare of Eden” and see how the stories would have fitted in each others seasons.

    • Jez Noir  August 17, 2012

      Mentally swapping Meglos with Nightmare of Eden? You, sir, are at a level of fandom I have yet to achieve but look forward to immensely. Bravo!

  9. tom  August 16, 2012

    just wanted to mention that this one was hilarious. i mean, i always enjoy the blog, but this one is particularly funny. thanks, you two.

  10. P.Sanders  August 16, 2012

    I heart Meglos. Total bollocks but still like it – something about a Season 17 drawback made in Season 18 style. Plus the actress playing Caris is actually quite good – she sells her disgust at cactus Tom anyway, even in a silly wig. But yes, this feels like SF written by non-SF writers – a sketchily-written society with no depth, lots of silly alien gubbins we don’t care about and giant plot-holes. But then where would Who be without any of those? (not to mention jungle planet sets, man-eating plants, religious cults and a human sacrifice) I still enjoy it though. I like a lot of Season 18 and the next story is a cracker. For me where it falls is inadequately explained science that leaves the casual viewer muddled (mainly LH & Log.) – a little more explanation would help as in the latter especially some important Tom lines are nearly lost in the mumble.

    • PolarityReversed  August 16, 2012

      Lost in the mumble?
      Ah, maybe that’s where they got the nu era idea from!

      I’m quite down on this season generally, but actually rather like the concept of the loose arc. But we’re not there yet, are we? So far we’ve had Atari games with funny hairdos and the machinations of an ambitious houseplant… (Chase would have turned in his mulch.)

  11. Broadshoulder2  August 16, 2012

    I didnt bother with this one on DVD I never watched it it was so tedious. Romana and the maneating plants is the only good bit.

    The first of JNTs casting balls ups appears in the next one.

  12. John G  August 16, 2012

    “It isn’t right Barbara shouting at the Doctor like that. She should be helping him.”

    Sue obviously doesn’t remember The Edge of Destruction, but it was a long time ago now! I was really hoping she would recognise Jackie without being told, but in fairness she did come close. I agree that it’s a shame Jackie didn’t come back as Barbara, as Lexa is a pretty unremarkable part. Still, it is both poignant and somewhat ironic to see again the actress who played the best ever companion just one story before Pyjama Boy makes his debut – a more glaring contrast could not be made.

    As for Meglos, I quite enjoyed it, though it is the most throwaway and forgettable story of the season. Cactus Tom is the best thing about it.

    By the way, kudos to Sue for the David Byrne bit – it gave me a good chuckle. I wonder if David was inspired by Meglos when making the video not long after…

    • Frankymole  August 17, 2012

      As this story was in fact in studio next after serial 5P with M—— W——— as A—-, it’s tempting to wonder if the lad hung around to see Jacqueline Hill doing her stuff; after all he was a keen Dr Who fan and surely would’ve been interested in seeing the earliest companion actress. Maybe, in his inimitable fashion, he gave her some television acting tips?

      • John G  August 17, 2012

        Yes, that is a delicious thought. As Jackie had been out of the business for over a decade by this point, you can just imagine the young man offering to give her some refresher training!

      • Robert Dick  August 17, 2012

        In Matthew’s hugely entertaining Dr Who memoirs (*), he regretfully says he never met Jackie.

        (*) Whatever one’s opinion of him, they are well worth a read or listen.

  13. Perry Armstrong  August 16, 2012

    It’s easy to feel melancholy when realising studio time spent on this one could’ve been used to finish SHAAAAADAAAAA!

    • Dave Sanders  August 16, 2012


  14. Dave Sanders  August 16, 2012

    Disappointed that Sue didn’t notice the planet hanging up on wires…

    Meglos is the dictionary definition of ‘forgettable’; whatever plus points is has are incidental little bits and pieces that don’t connect with each other, much like the plot (or lack thereof) – Sue’s confusion is mainly down from trying to read more into the story than is actually there. A walnut with no whip in it.

    • P.Sanders  August 16, 2012

      Surely it’s all whip and no walnut?

      • Dave Sanders  August 17, 2012

        No, the whip’s the part you pay for.

  15. Thomas Bush  August 16, 2012

    Another excellent review from Sue! David Byrne bit was the best. You want to like this story but you just can’t. Wake me when Season 18’s over…

  16. Glen Allen  August 16, 2012

    Well I have to admit MEGLOS is definitely a forgettable one for me.
    The Time Monster, The Mutants and strangely Planet of Evil are among those that Im always convinced Ive never seen, and its clearly because my brain has jettisoned (more on that next season) them from my mind.
    In fact Im fairly sure Ive never got to the end of The Time Monster

    You do have to question who cast Jaqueline Hill. Ok so its easy now to say “how could regular viewers forget who she played) It would be like asking Janet Fielding to come back now and play an evil dominatrix character (stop it. I like her) My point is it just wouldnt work

    Oh and forgive me for the tongue in cheek attitude towards Adric on the trails. Im one of the few people who had no problem with Matthew at all. I still dont..but thats probably best left for another time

    • Charles Norton  August 16, 2012

      Well, there is one good joke in it. ‘Many hands make the lights work.’ That’s not bad.

    • encyclops  August 16, 2012

      You and me, Glen: we’ll stand back to back against the hordes on the topic of the mathematically excellent.

      I forgot to mention that it’s a crime of the highest order that we didn’t have audio commentary on this story. I would love to have heard Sue parodying “Once In a Lifetime” for this story. Brilliant.

    • Robert Dick  August 17, 2012

      We shouldn’t be talking about him yet. But the type of fan who posts about disliking Adric tends to be the type of fan who think they’re doing it amusingly and people are finding their jokes high wit. They are invariably wrong.

      • PolarityReversed  August 17, 2012

        How about this for arch self-congratulatory wit:

        I don’t like Adric.

    • Robert Dick  August 17, 2012

      I’d quite cheerfully cast Maureen O’Brien and Louise Jameson in episodes of Dr Who now as someone completely different to their original characters.

  17. Frankymole  August 16, 2012

    Freddie Treves in other roles is so unrecognisable (he usually plays straight-laced Victorian doctors or family solicitor types) that it’s clear he actually *can* act… e.g. as a drunken tramp, here.

    • Robert Dick  August 17, 2012

      Freddie Treves was one of Nick Courtney’s favourite actors. He was invariably the one he would mention when asked if there was anyone he’d especially like to work with.

  18. rad  August 17, 2012

    I can’t wait for Sue’s reaction to Adric. The next few reviews should be excellent… reading, that is. The scores, less hopeful about…

  19. U Yrthis  August 17, 2012

    A definitely laugh out loud for the David Byrne moment.

    I watched this story once, and have no memory of it – though I seem to remember thinking the novelisation was rather good when I was 12. The banker was given a much better part in it, and I was disappointed how weak the actual serial was by comparison to the book. It was one of my favourites, along with Monster Of Peladon and Tomb Of The Cybermen – all three I wish I’d never seen.

  20. U Yrthis  August 17, 2012

    By the way, I’m really looking forward to Full Circle, as I rate that one highly, even accounting for the introduction of His Nibbs.

  21. Doug  August 17, 2012

    Yes, this trash is where Dr Who finally “jumped the shark” for me. We are a long, long way from the original format/conception from the Hartnell years now. Heavy handed propaganda against religion, convoluted plots and a ridiculous villain. Play this back to back against the nuanced study of religious violence that is the Massacre, or the thoughtfulness of the Aztecs and you will see this is a series that had lost its reason for existing. If I were the BBC programme director, I’d have pulled the plug on the series at the end of the year.

    I wonder what Jacqui thought of how Who had developed (or devolved in my opinion) from the 1960s to this point?

    • Glen Allen  August 17, 2012

      Meglos is not great (and very confusing) but from this point on Tom’s last few days are eerie, dark, brooding, foreboding and fantastic
      Ridiulous villain? Meddling Monk anyone? Zaroff? Krotons? Yes they all have their reasons for battling The Doctor, as does Meglos

      “We are a long, long way from the original format/conception from the Hartnell years now.” Almost 20 years on I would hope so.
      Change my dear…

      • U Yrthis  August 17, 2012

        Totally agree – Doctor Who arguably jumped the shark when Hartnell wished viewers a Happy Christmas, or when The Chase turned out to be as silly as it was, or when a spring broke and inexplicably made the regulars act like psychopathic stoners. The series was already a million miles from the original conceit with the endless conveyor-belt Base Under Seige stories of the Troughton era.

        Arguably, too, the eerie puzzles of Warriors Gate, Traken, Logopolis and Castrovalva are much closer to the Hartnell mystery plays than anything since The Mind Robber. Doctor Who hadn’t been that outright spooky in a long time. It had done horror and Nigel Neale style spooky, but nothing quite like that particular run of Mr Bidmead’s Phantom Tollbooth adventures.

      • Dave Sanders  August 17, 2012

        Do Who fans ordering a curry really shout ‘Tikka’? Don’t any of them go ‘Thanks be to Thai’?

  22. Steven McNicoll  August 17, 2012

    Gosh! I have been following this blog since day one and I ADORE it.
    Season 18 is a toughie. This blog has replicated my experience of watching the show. Loved it as a wee one from about Planet Of The Daleks…Then seven years later, boredom set in, it twas the Loooooooong pan in Leisure Hive. (I actually missed the opening credits at my gran’s, can you IMAGINE? Thought the end credits were some kind of fearful prank!) That was the point it started to lose me.
    No coherent story.
    A scientist script editing?
    Absolutely Neil!
    No sense of drama or storytelling.
    Yes! chaps I’m losing interest with you both all over again. But like my ten year old self we shall keep going! Dr Who! It’s a wonderful adventure and you make it more so with your wit and …just …all round goodness really. More to come! Live forever you pair and thank you both so much for a wonderful journey!

  23. Dave Sanders  August 17, 2012

    Whenever I read of the Dodecahedron in Meglos, I keep thinking of this:

    Now if Meglos had been voiced by Mel Blanc…

  24. Katie Linton  August 17, 2012

    I agree it is downhill from here. In fact, I wouldn’t worry if Sue gave every episode between here and Ghost Light a 1/10.

    • encyclops  August 17, 2012

      Nah, Sue’s not that pretentious. And even if she were, she’d probably find something to love in 5Y, 6D, and 6H.

      • U Yrthis  August 18, 2012

        Can we have a ban on serial codes? I’d rather just read the comments without having to look stuff up.

        • encyclops  August 18, 2012

          Sorry, I got into the habit because it seemed the most certain way to avoid any kind of spoilers or bias (“oh, I remember that death robot nerd said that this one was supposed to be good, we’ll see about that”), but I see I’ve been far surpassed there by “terry” down below. The episodes I meant are “Kinda,” “Snakedance,” and “Enlightenment,” which are the ones on which the “Ghost Light was the BEST THING EVER!” crowd and I tend to agree.

  25. chris-too-old-too-watch  August 17, 2012

    Meglos + weedkiller = deep joy

  26. Gavin Noble  August 17, 2012

    The worst is out of the way – the rest of series 18 is much better. I particularly like the next story and it has always one that has lived long in my memory until I saw it again on its VHS release. Meglos on the other hand does not.

    Your review is far more interesting than the whole of Meglos!

    • Gavin Noble  August 17, 2012

      And the VHS release did not diminsh my view of the story as my earlier reply inferred.

      • Robert Dick  August 17, 2012

        Implied 😉

  27. Robert Dick  August 17, 2012

    Speaking of Bill Frazer and Terence Dudley… will Sue be seeing anything between Logopolis and Castrovalva?

  28. BWT  August 17, 2012

    I can’t for the life of me understand why but I quite like MEGLOS – and I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one. I dunno… perhaps it’s seeing Jacqui Hill back on TV, perhaps it’s the fact that it’s our last hurrah before the Adric situation, perhaps it’s just the fact that this one is unapologetically itself and a bit of nonsensical fun (as Dr Who should be) when all the other stories around it are too busy disappearing up their own arses to be bothered entertaining the viewers at home? Anyway – I like it, bad acting and shit SceneSyncing and all…

  29. Ryan Hall  August 17, 2012

    I love Meglos , i know its crap but its the only one from this season that actully feels like it should be with the previous couple , it really does stand out an awful lot .
    i have very fond memories of this, part 3 more so as my brother was born the night before it aired, and i remember being more excited to get to the hospital on the saturday night to tell my mum all about Romana and k9 being trapped behind a door than seeing my new born brother haha.

  30. DamonD  August 17, 2012

    Meglos – it’s just not much cop. Hard to dredge up much vitriol for it, but it’s the cast-iron clunker of Season 18 for me.

    I loved the “He must really respect himself as an actor” comment, very nice.

  31. Tim Chapman  August 17, 2012

    I’d say that Meglos is anything but forgettable – like several other people of almost exactly my age, I vividly remember the terrifying sight of Tom Baker looking like a cactus.

    Don’t think I’ve seen it since I was 7, though. But it was great at the time.

    • Richard Lyth  August 17, 2012

      I think Tom Baker as a cactus might be my first memory of Doctor Who. Logopolis is the first story I remember watching, but I must have seen at least one episode of this as that image definitely stuck in my mind.

  32. Ryan Hall  August 17, 2012

    What i do like though is Sue’s obversation of Romana having her own tv show, i dont think really any assistant ever put that feeling across till her , we only really accepted Sarah jane’s because of the spin off .

  33. DPC  August 17, 2012

    The story has pros for its music, and with Tom Baker and Jacqueline Hill putting in top-notch performances, reminding us how great these two character actors are…

    But, yeah, a lot of Sue’s points are very valid and Meglos often does what it needs to do for the sake of plot expediency. A lot of the story IS rubbish, elevated by a couple of great actors.

    And a lot of the science is as dumb as it is confusing – a lot of the technical terms are nominal; used in name only, which made those bits even more chafing…

    To me, the acting and music make it 5/10 for me…

  34. Terry Francis  August 17, 2012

    What I find incredible is that both Sue and Nigel couldn’t follow the relatively simple plot for “Meglos” (indeed, she had problems with the first scene where the plot’s basically info-dumped onto the viewer). God knows how they are going to cope with some of the later stories if they find “Meglos” complicated!

    • John Williams  August 17, 2012

      I think you should tell us who Nigel is. He’s clearly on your mind.

      • Dave Sanders  August 17, 2012

        Nigel Kneale?

      • Jazza1971  August 17, 2012

        I have problems with Glen/Greg as a name, so I can sympathise!

      • Terry Francis  August 18, 2012

        I feel so ashamed, for some stupid reason I typed Nigel instead of Neil! (Probably because I was downloading Nigel Robinson’s adaptation of The Masters of Luxor whilst reading it).

    • DPC  August 19, 2012

      Exposition and pacing are the keys to making a told presentation work. Info-dumps can be overwhelming and, while the story has some great ideas (shapeshifting life form using a cactus as a host to live through several years in drought conditions is quite clever), it’s still hard to deny the whole story is badly written, not being proper in distribution of exposition and concepts, and making things up as it goes along. It needed a rewrite, and certainly a prequel to let the viewer care more for these planets and their peoples.

      And if it wasn’t for Ms. Hill, nobody would care about either faction. I’m more like a savant in real life, but I felt sorry for the Deons and they were as stereotyped and one-dimensional as it gets!

  35. Andrew Bowman  August 17, 2012

    This is actually my earliest memory of Doctor Who, as I remember quite vividly the Doctor covered in spikes running through a field. Although, I also have a memory of a weird wobbly alien in half a Dalek rolling alarmingly out of shot, but I can’t remember whether Destiny of the Daleks was repeated after this or whether *that* was my earliest memory.

  36. Ian  August 17, 2012

    My abiding memory of Meglos is not being allowed to watch episode two after back chatting my Mum. I’d have been ten at the time and forcing me to miss Dr Who was the greatest punishment my Dad could have bestowed on me…I was abject. Didn’t get round to seeing it for about twenty odd years and it certainly wasn’t worth the wait! The rest of s18 is much better now that these two snoozefests are out of the way although there are only about a dozen or so really good stories over the rest of the decade.

  37. terry  August 17, 2012

    Have you informed Sue that Baker regenerates at the end of this season? I think you should and stop her playing the guessing game.

    Also, I do not enjoy reading about ‘3sums’ in this blog, ive said it before and Ill say it again..witty banter chaps are good at that, throw into the mix a good level of humour….love the fact Sue spotted that chap falling over early on. But there is no need to lower the tone with sexual references.

    Key to Time season…i vividly recall one episode…perhaps Stones of Blood..when Baker is in full throttle belowing out in his Tardis when he quite obviously Burps! mid sentence and then carries on. Did you pick up in that? Well it always looked like it too me….its read all over his face..almost he expects them to say Cut..they dont and so carries on. Perhaps Im wrong…but always made me chuckle.

  38. P.Sanders  August 17, 2012

    I know some folk hate the whole JNT era, and I admit that maybe I would defend it because I grew up with it and so I have a soft spot for it even when I can see the flaws. But I do fear that writing off the entire rest of the series isn’t going to do the experiment any favours seeing as Sue reads the threads, and not long ago she was thinking of giving up as folk said it was crap after GW took over. But thankfully since then she loved a lot of Mary Tamm’s stories, plus City of Death and Eden, so I guess she’s not that easily swayed. Sue, if you’re reading it isn’t ALL downhill from here!!!

    • terry  August 17, 2012

      Col. Sanders – obviously depending on age and era of when you came to WHO people are going to have different opinions, favourites..I fall into the ‘it is totally all downhill from here’ camp I’m afraid. Big time. Slyvester stopped a little of the rot but oh boy there is a lot of rot to come. And this poorly conceived, badly directed, written and acted season of convulted sc-fi claptrap has nothing in it’s favour. Look at Bakers regeneration scene for a start!!..Look at the static ‘cardboard’ cutout of The Master as the Doc..’falls’. So amateurish it is painful to watch and enjoy.

      Whatever the age or era you come to WHO..I know theres this pull for want of a better word that your naturally drawn to liking something you began watching…but growing up really should make people wise up, look back, take off the nostalgic glasses and realise from KeyToTime season onwards ( and actually way before that really ) WHO was going down the pan…it lost what ‘it’ was and until the total reboot recently never really found it. Sadly. So, Sue…Im afraid, im my opinion, theres a heck of a lot of painful watching coming up..10years of it!

      I honestly wouldnt be surprised if the exeriment comes to a end..I a fan..but the thought of sitting though so much badly lit, acted ‘stories’ really would depress me. Again, all said with a heavy heart because I love WHO..late 60’s – late 70’s and now into the noughties….but boy o boy the 80’s!!! yeeesh!!

      • Dave Sanders  August 18, 2012

        First of all, (a) MASSIVE spoilers, and (b) the scenes in question, when you actually look at them – ideally with the DVD docs of the actors telling you the pressing conditions under which they were done – were tremendously complex multi-layered setups that had never been attempted before in a BBC studio. Yes, you can see the joins, but me, I wouldn’t hear a bad word said against ’em.

      • Andrew Bowman  August 18, 2012

        Can I just say that it’s all down to opinion? The ’80s don’t float your boat, fine, but I do think it’s a bit odd stating that you’re right and everyone else is wrong. Yes, the 80s has its flaws, but so did the 60s and 70s (hey, even the 00s and 10s have had a couple of missteps along the way) but it’s all part of the rich tapestry of Who. Admittedly, my Doctor is Colin Baker, so what the hell do I know?

        • Frankymole  August 18, 2012

          And it’s weird to claim the new series embodies some kind of mojo which the post-Hinchliffe old series had “lost”. At least the classic series could tell a story, even in the 1980s. Convoluted “timey wimey” paradoxes that make no sense, or cop-out deus ex machina endings were rare beasts indeed.

        • PolarityReversed  August 18, 2012

          To be fair, he did start off by saying he was in a certain camp, then made a few points as he saw things.
          I don’t really think there was that much spoilage in it either – Tom regenerates, the Master turns up again. At some future point Sylvester takes the job. Quick, phone the tabloids!

          I’m largely of the same opinion, but I certainly respect others’ opinions and affections, so I’ve decided to stop posting roughly post-Castrol GTX, and then dip in from time to time to lurk – much as I did back in the day.

          I don’t really think the reboot era got “it” back wholesale. For all that it’s built on the legacy, and there’s been some imaginative enjoyable work done, it’s a very different show aimed at a very different sensibility. Comparisons may be fun, but that seems a bit like laying Rhentaghost and Buffy side-by-side to me…

          I do hope the wifery continues and stays the course though. As I’ve said before, Who’s strength is that it is so many things to so many different people.

      • solar penguin  August 18, 2012

        I don’t think the eighties are all that bad. Personally I like Black Orchid, Kinda, Earthshock, Snakedance, Mawdryn, T5D, Androzani, Varos, and Revelation. Plus visually there’s great location work in Resurrection, Planet of Fire, and Mark of the Rani, even if the plots don’t make any sense! And Delta is great fun if you know enough about British old-time radio series to get all the references and in-jokes (although it’s wasted on anyone who doesn’t.)

        In fact I’d rather take the eighties over the dull, tedious gothic crap of the Hinchliffe era any day! That was DW’s real low point.

    • DPC  August 19, 2012


  39. Paul Mc Elvaney  August 17, 2012

    Not sure why, but I found the time loop bit hilarious in this blog. It’s the simple things in life…

  40. Simon Harries  August 18, 2012

    Seems a bit much calling the Doctor a prick… Our anti-hero didn’t shed tears over Laurence Scarman’s murder in Pyramids of Mars, an alien quality which didn’t attract Sue’s contempt at the time. You’d think he might have cared more about Laurence Scarman who had been doing his best to help the cause – unlike Lexa, who had just been about to sacrifice him to appease her deity. I wonder if Sue will adopt similar terms when she sees his reaction to the murder of a certain character’s brother in the next story?

    Meglos is very badly written and desperately badly directed, it also features appalling design work, wigs, costumes and chromakey. But I can’t bring myself to dismiss it entirely. Maybe it’s because of the exquisite Freddie Treves playing a slob?! The sheer number of stupid grimaces and leers on his face make me laugh out loud every time. I also really like the music, and that little quote of the Doctor Who theme, as Tom comes ambling around the side of the painted flattage.

    • Neil Perryman  August 18, 2012

      I’m sure she only said this because it was Barbara. You know how confused she gets, Simon.

  41. Nan  August 18, 2012

    I’ll always have a soft spot for this episode since my housemate (trailermate?) and I named the prickly pear in the front yard Meglos. It too had ambitions to take over the universe – or at least the cactus garden.

  42. CJJC  August 24, 2012

    “It’s time for HIM to appear”: Paddy Kingsland. (And if Full Circle were his first work for the series, that’d be perfect. But it turns out Meglos is. Ah well).