THE HORNS OF NIMON

Part One

Me: Here, grab this firmly and pull, love.

Don’t worry, it’s not what you think.

Sue: A Christmas cracker? What’s this for?
Me: It’s Christmas 1979!

We pull the cracker. It doesn’t go bang.

Sue: I’m not putting the hat on.

The Horns of NimonThe story begins with a large spaceship ploughing its way through the cosmos. Hang on… didn’t I start the last one like this?

Sue: Doctor Who always begins with a wobbly model shot these days. It’s a shame. It’s just inviting viewers to switch over to ITV.

The ship is piloted by an old man.

Sue: William Hartnell’s brother.

…and his aggravated copilot.

Sue: A fat Keifer Sutherland.

The copilot is in a hurry to return to his home planet, Skonnos.

Sue: He wants to get back for his favourite TV show. They probably don’t have Sky Plus where he comes from.

In the hold of this ship, a group of youngsters are cowering in fear.

Sue: Oh, it’s whatsherface from Blue Peter.
Me: Oh, come on, you can do better than that.
Sue: Jennifer Ennis? No, she won the pentathlon, didn’t she? Janet Ennis? No, wait… Jennifer Ellis. Oh, I don’t ****ing know. I know that you fancy her daughter, though.
Me: It’s Janet Ellis. And if it’s any consolation, I used to have a schoolboy crush on her as well.
Sue: Whatever.

The Horns of NimonMeanwhile, the Doctor is tinkering with his TARDIS and Romana isn’t impressed.

Sue: Is she going fox hunting?
Me: I think it’s more likely that Romana would sabotage a fox hunt.
Sue: If you ask me, Lalla suits that outfit a bit too much. She looks like she might have been on one or two fox hunts in her time.
Me: Well, she is the daughter of a viscount. Technically, she’s the Honourable Lalla Ward.
Sue: I knew it! They are probably her own clothes!

The Doctor’s tinkering results in a small explosion and K9 winds up with his head facing the wrong way. But when the Doctor starts blowing into K9’s nozzle, effectively giving the robot dog CPR, I can’t help myself.

Me: I’m sorry but that was bloody ridiculous.
Sue: Have you never blown into the back of your computer when it stops working? You know, to blow out all the fluff? It makes perfect sense to me. Poor K9.

Elsewhere, black-clad troops are making one hell of a racket on the steel floors of Skonnos.

The Horns of NimonSue: That rattling is really going to get on my tits, isn’t it?

We are introduced to Sorak, Captain of the Skonnos Military.

Sue: Oh, it’s him from Howard’s End.
Me: You mean Howard’s Way. And it isn’t him. It just looks like him. But if you wish hard enough, you might get the real thing one day.

We also meet Soldeed.

Sue: Is it the Master?
Me: Do you really want to go down that road?
Sue: Look at him! They could be brothers. Oh dear. Is he drunk?

She couldn’t place Graham Crowden at first, but as soon as I mentioned A Very Peculiar Practice (which she loves adores), the penny dropped.

The Horns of NimonSue: Hang on, wasn’t he always drunk in that programme as well?

The TARDIS slams into the ship from Skonnos.

Sue: That’s two stories on the trot where we see spaceships crashing into each other. That’s bad script editing again.

The copilot takes some time out from repairing his ship to shout at the children trapped in the hold.

Copilot: Weakling scum!
Sue: Dial it back a bit, mate. He really isn’t happy about missing that TV show, is he?

And then she begins to worry.

Sue: We had drugs last week so I’m scared to ask this, but are they running an intergalactic paedophile ring?

The Doctor and Romana enter the crippled ship and they are press ganged into fixing its engines. We learn that Romana has built her very own sonic screwdriver and Sue is very amused when the Doctor tries to steal it from her.

Sue: I bet it has a lot more settings than his.

Back on the TARDIS, K9 is hidden beneath a mountain of tape.

The Horns of NimonSue: I see they had some bunting that left over from the Silver Jubilee.

The Doctor asks K9 for an update.

The Doctor: How’s the dimensional stabiliser?
K9: Fused, master.
The Doctor: Gravitic anomoliser?
K9: Functioning normally.
Sue: For a moment there, I thought K9 was going to say “****ed, master”.

Suddenly, everyone’s voices begin to distort as the gravity increases.

Sue: Is there something wrong with the DVD?
Me: No, that’s supposed to happen.
Sue: Are you sure one of the cats hasn’t sat on the remote control?

With the he Doctor tinkering in his TARDIS, it’s left to Romana to sort things out. Sue likes this a lot.

Sue: You go, girl.

The Skonnan copilot locks Romana in the hold with the Anethan children.

Copilot: The Nimon waits for no man!
Sue
: Okay, they are just taking the piss, now.

And then Sue meets her very first Nimon. It’s a profoundly moving moment for everyone concerned.

Sue: No ****ing way. What is the **** is that supposed to be?

The episode concludes with the Doctor cradling K9 in his arms as a planet hurtles towards his broken TARDIS.

Sue: That was a terrible cliffhanger. Is Tom Baker working his notice at this point? Does he regenerate at the end of this one? I don’t think he can be arsed any more.

 

Part Two

The Horns of NimonSue: What a load of bollocks.

The Doctor is preparing to face death.

Sue: The Doctor wouldn’t just give up like that. What’s he playing at?

When the Doctor pinned a rosette to K9, Sue turned to me and scowled.

Sue: This is ****ing stupid.
Me: It’s not my fault!

The TARDIS spins off the planet like a cricket ball spinning off a cricket bat, but it just isn’t tennis as far as Sue is concerned.

Sue: If that planet was supposed to be nine kilometres wide, the TARDIS was at least two kilometres wide according to that model shot. Have they never heard of scale?

The Nimon and Soldeed meet up so they can discuss their nefarious plans.

Me: I like the way the bull is having a crafty dance whenever Soldeed isn’t looking. He can’t stop grooving. Look at those rapper hand movements. He is down with the kids.

Of course, Nicol has to choose this moment to walk in on us.

The Horns of NimonNicol: Is he the Master?
Me: For ****’s sake.
Sue: At least Romana is taking this seriously. She’s holding this together.

Sorak informs Soldeed that the missing ship has reappeared on their scanners.

Sue: His uniform would be a bastard to iron. I bet they have to use a lot of starch.
Me: You can get something very similar to what he’s wearing from Ann Summer’s 50 Shades range. Allegedly.
Sue: You are obsessed with that bloody book.
Me: I’m writing a sequel.

One of the young Aneth prisoners, a boy named Seth, confides in Romana that he isn’t everything he’s cracked up to be.

Sue: Aw, bless him. He’s not even a real prince. I’m actually interested in this story now. It’s only taken me 45 minutes to get into it.

Seth doesn’t want his pushy girlfriend finding out that he’s just an ordinary bloke.

Sue: Aw, bless him. Is he a new companion? I do hope so.

She doesn’t like what Seth is wearing, though.

Sue: It looks like someone has kidnapped a Judo team.

And later…

Sue: We used to have curtains made from the same material as that when I was growing up. Same colour, too.

The Horns of NimonThe Doctor tries to fly his TARDIS without a gravitic anomoliser and the TARDIS reacts by playing a BBC Sound Effects record at him at full blast.

Sue: What the hell was that?
Me: Don’t worry, it’s Christmas.

Romana takes charge of the situation.

Sue: Are they edging Tom Baker towards the exit? Are they trying to sideline him, like they did William Hartnell? At least the Doctor is making a concerted effort to get his TARDIS fixed, I suppose. Is the Black Guardian still chasing him or has he given up?

On Skonnos, the military escort Romana and the Anethan children to Soldeed.

Sue: It’s a planet where everyone evolved from the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The Doctor finally fixes his TARDIS and he puts it in a parking orbit above the power complex on Skonnos.

The Horns of NimonSue: That’s made from egg boxes. The old grey egg boxes you used to get in the seventies.
Me: Stay tuned because Janet will show us how to make our very own Skonnan power complex in the next edition of Blue Peter.
Sue: Ha bloody ha.

The Doctor arrives on Skonnos and he is immediately surrounded by troops.

The Doctor: How is it wherever I go in the universe there are always people like you pointing guns or phasers or blasters?
Sue: (As the Doctor) And why are you always dressed as sex pests?

Romana and the Anethans are placed in a maze and they discover the mummified remains of a corpse that crumbles to dust as soon as Janet Ellis touches it.

Sue: Wow. That was an excellent special effect. This story is actually getting better as it goes along.

Soldeed and the Doctor finally come face to face.

Sue: This should be interesting.

She isn’t disappointed.

The Horns of NimonSue: He’s definitely drunk.

The episode concludes with the Nimon threatening Romana and the kids.

Sue: That was a bit crap.
Me: Bull shitt.

 

Part Three

Me: We have reached the 1980s!

We do our eighties dance. It’s not pretty.

Sue: So, does everything change overnight?
Me: Ha! That would be silly.
Sue: This is a ****ing long recap. That’s never a good sign.

As the Nimon advances on Romana and the kids, Sue identifies the monster’s Achilles heel.

Sue: (as the Nimon) Arg! These bloody heels are killing me! I knew I should have put some trainers on instead.

The Horns of NimonThe Doctor races in and while he distracts the Nimon with a red rag, Romana starts shooting up the place.

Sue: Have they got a new pyrotechnic guy working on the programme? He’s really keen, isn’t he? And I bet it’s a he, too. It’s the 1970s. I don’t think I’ve seen this many explosions in a Doctor Who story before.

I set off a party popper (I forgot to release it during our virtual News Year celebrations earlier) and Sue nearly jumped out of her skin.

In the confusion, Romana manages to escape with Seth and Teka.

Sue: At least she managed to save two of them. And they’re the best two. They can talk.

The Nimon roars in anger.

Sue: He has to roar like that. No one will take him seriously otherwise.

I ask her if she remembers the Matt Smith story that features a minotaur in a maze, and she does. So I tell her that the Nimon are distantly related to the monster from that story.

Sue: That’s very nice, dear, but it doesn’t make this one any better, does it? I bet the Nimon are the sort of relations you are always too embarrassed to talk about.

The Nimon adjusts some knobs on his equipment racks.

Sue: He’s the Nimon version of Orbital.

The Nimon powers up his machines.

The Horns of NimonSue: Considering they have a monster who can’t walk properly, they are going out of their way to show it walking around ALL THE BLOODY TIME! Just stand still! You are much scarier when you don’t look like you are going to fall over onto your big, flat face. Actually, that probably explains why its face is so flat in the first place.

Soldeed is examining the TARDIS when K9 chooses to exit it.

K9: Master?
Sue: No, K9. It just looks like him.

The Doctor starts poking around the Nimon’s gear and Sue has a confession to make.

Sue: I tell you what I really like about this story.
Me: Go on.
Sue: The sets. The Nimon’s place of work looks great. All that chunky equipment that looks like it’s been salvaged from a submarine. It looks like this stuff might actually work for a change.

The Horns of NimonIt turns out that the Nimon is double-crossing Soldeed.

Sue: Are you sure he isn’t the Master? That happens to him all the time.

Soldeed address the council leaders of Skonnos and he tells them to prepare for war.

Sue: I wouldn’t want that lot fighting for me. What a shambles.

As they leave the council chamber, Sorak questions Soldeed about the Nimon’s motives for helping them.

Sue: Oh dear. The boom operator couldn’t reach them all the way down that corridor. I couldn’t hear a bloody thing at the end of that scene.

The Nimon is rapidly approaching our heroes and Seth sends Teka to warn the Doctor.

Sue: He doesn’t want her around when he wets himself.

The Nimon enters the laboratory and everyone hides.

The Horns of NimonSue: Just hypnotise it. Or sing a lullaby to it. Or play your whistle to it. You’ve dealt with worse than this.

The Nimon adjusts the settings on his equipment one more time. Seriously, he can’t get enough of it.

Sue: Oh look, a squatting bull with flatulence. I think I’ve seen it all now.

Suddenly, a round capsule appears.

Sue: Wait! Is it the Sontarans? They love to turn up at the end.

No, it’s even more Nimons.

Sue: He finally got the band back together.

It’s at this point that Sue notices the Doctor has been carrying a teaspoon around with him.

The Horns of NimonSue: Is that Tom Baker’s coke spoon?

Soldeed decides to have a little chat with his Nimon overlord.

Sue: (as Soldeed) Coo-eee! Nimon, I’m home!

The episode concludes with Romana trapped on the planet of the Nimons and Soldeed threatening to blow the Doctor’s head off.

Sue: This is starting to pick up now.

 

Part Four

Romana isn’t very happy not to be on Skonnos any more.

Sue: Just reverse the polarity, love. It’s dead easy.

Romana runs into an old man named Sezom. He tells her how the Nimon arrived on the planet Crinoth promising peace before they cruelly sucked it dry.

The Horns of NimonSue: This is very sad. It’s quite tragic, really.

And for a short while at least, Sue is utterly engrossed by The Horns of Nimon.

But Soldeed has to spoil it.

Sue: He’s got more ham than Ye Olde Oak! What is he on?

As a Nimon shuffles down a corridor, Sue gets up off the sofa to mimic its shambling gait.

Me: They hired ballet dancers to play the Nimon.
Sue: Ballet dancers! Are you joking? They have no finesse! The might as well have hired builders for all the good they’re doing. Ballet dancers! I’ve heard it all now.

The Nimon fails to spot Romana hiding a few yards away and I’m surprised when Sue doesn’t bring it up.

The Horns of NimonSue: For all we know, the Nimon are an alien race that don’t have any peripheral vision. This could explain why it always looks like they are about to topple over.

Romana and Sezom try to escape from the planet.

Sue: Just give Romana her own show and be done with it.

Sue is gutted when Sezom is killed by a Nimon.

Me: He was only in it for five minutes!
Sue: He’s the best thing in this.

The Doctor is trying to override the controls to the transporter when he is interrupted by a Nimon.

Sue: Does he do anything in this story besides fiddle with stuff?

The Nimon isn’t pleased to see the Doctor.

The Horns of NimonThe Nimon: You will be questioned, tortured and killed.
The Doctor: Well, I hope you get it in the right order.
Sue: That was very funny. Douglas Adams must have written that line. He does have his uses.

At the final, crucial moment, Seth becomes the hero that Teka wants him to be.

So Soldeed shoots him.

Sue: He can’t die! He’s the new companion!

Luckily, the shot isn’t fatal but Seth is gutted when he discovers that Teka has been lined up as a Nimon ready meal.

Seth: Teka!
Sue: When fans go to conventions, do they go to Indian restaurants together so they can shout “Teka! Teka!” as if they are in The Horns of Nimon?
Me: That’s all we ever do. How did you guess?

Soldeed realises that he has been betrayed by the Nimon.

The Horns of NimonSue: He has progressed from alcohol to class A drugs. Vrax, probably.

Soldeed’s death scene definitely makes an impression on Sue.

Sue: Well, I won’t forget that in a hurry. What was he thinking?
Me: Graham Crowden almost played the fourth Doctor.
Sue: Really? That was a lucky escape. Tom Baker is relatively sane compared to him.

Teka continues to big up her beau.

Sue: She’d be very high maintenance. Just listen to her droning on. She’d be very difficult to please and very demanding in bed, I shouldn’t wonder.
Me: I bet she’d be murder on the dance floor.

The Nimon chase our heroes down.

The Nimon: Pursue them!
Sue: Pursue? That’s easier said than done when you are wearing high heels, love.

As the creatures pass through an archway, Sue has some advice for them:

Sue: Duck or you’ll chip your horns!

As the chase intensifies, I notice that Sue is humming to Dudley Simpson under her breath. Again.

The Horns of NimonMe: You really like Dudley, don’t you?
Sue: I can’t imagine Doctor Who without him. He has a lot of different styles but there is always an underlying Dudliness to everything he does. Dum-de-dum-de-dum-dum-dum.

The power complex explodes. A lot.

Sue: Somebody working on this story really enjoyed blowing things up. Look at those poor egg boxes.
Me: It’s one that Janet made earlier.
Sue: Stop it.

And then it dawns on her that Seth and Teka didn’t get a proper farewell scene.

Sue: They would have been brilliant companions! Janet Ellis would put Seth in danger every week by bigging him up to the villains. It could have been very funny.

The Doctor makes a reference to the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur.

The Horns of NimonMe: See, it’s all based on something that kids might have studied at school. Isn’t that nice?
Sue: You can call The Horns of Nimon many things but educational isn’t one of them.

The episode concludes with the Doctor gently teasing Romana.

Sue: They are definitely shagging at this point. No question about it.

 

The Score

Sue: That was average. The plot was silly, the Nimon were silly and some of the acting was pretty silly, too. But it had its moments and it got better as it went along, which is strange, because in my experience these things usually get a lot worse. Lalla was great, which is a good job because Tom clearly couldn’t be arsed. They are running out of money, too, by the look of it. I think they all need a good lie down.

5/10

 

Coming Soon

 

76

Comments

  1. Meemo Omeema  August 11, 2012

    Technically, she’s the Honourable Sarah Ward.

    Also: “Her great-grandmother Mary Ward was a talented illustrator and amateur scientist, and is documented as the first person in the world to die in a motor vehicle accident.” Which is interesting.

    • PolarityReversed  August 11, 2012

      A fair old interest in art herself too, by all accounts.

      Now then: badminton, golf, horse riding, extensive house renovations and an affection for the Dordogne and Tuscany. The Honourable Sue?

      Lord Neil: Romana hunt-sabbing… an intriguing thought.

    • wholahoop  August 12, 2012

      and I thought she was the Honourable Lady Penelope Creighton Ward, or was that the bottle of pear cider talking?

      • Frankymole  August 12, 2012

        No, she had an affair with another popular incarnation of the Doctor entirely (at least her impersonator in films did)…

  2. Gavin Noble  August 11, 2012

    Have you hacked into my computer – within two minutes of logging in I always seem to be getting your latest update email arriving? Not that I’m complaining as this is one of my favourite sites on the web of all time.

    Fair score for this story I think. I know there’s a section of fandom that love this story a great deal for all the reasons why I don’t like it. The season definitely was a rollercoaster ride – and this story was the boring slow down at the end as you get back to the ride station again.

  3. drekal  August 11, 2012

    Now that Sue has seen this… classic, she could probably appreciate this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98MxxpzIoyg

    Horns of Nimon falls into the so bad it’s good category for me. It’s awful, and that makes it kind of funny to watch.

    • Dave Sanders  August 12, 2012

      “‘Shit’ not compitable Master.”

  4. siobhan gallichan  August 11, 2012

    Ahhhh…. I cannot wait till the next show…. I have certain expectations. As it is, Nimon is a giggle.

  5. Bestbrian  August 11, 2012

    They’re coming in thick and fast now.

  6. Stuart Ian Burns  August 11, 2012

    Shada! SHAAADAAA!

  7. Dan  August 11, 2012

    No spoilers but presumably you’ll tell Sue what happened at this point.. (or does she already know?).

    • Neil Perryman  August 11, 2012

      She knows nothing at this point.

      • Alisaunder  August 12, 2012

        What happened?

        • Dan  August 12, 2012

          That would be telling. (You’ll find it, if anything.)

  8. P.Sanders  August 11, 2012

    Fair enough score – Sue was very fair. I enjoy this one but for me it’s the flaws that add to the charm. Romana gets plenty to do, but yes Tom seems to be sidelined and a bit bored.

  9. Marty  August 11, 2012

    Something I have never considered before in Doctor Who; ironing.

    I’ve got the BBC Sound Effects cassette, not even the record, but the glorious cassette. Oh…the memories of listening to it, that one time and recognising the sounds of the TARDIS.

    Wow, Sue making a drug joke based on the last story. Impressive.

    This is a story that my dad had recorded off of the ABC and I was really happy that I had it. This is a story I have seen too many times to count and it remains one of my favourite stories. Yes it’s a bit silly with some over acting. But it’s got TARDIS scenes, spaceships, explosions, aliens, some gunfights, humour. Romana being all Doctory and the Doctor being himself. Plus K9 and a maze of corridors. It’s a story that has everything that Doctor Who stories do and it does it quite well, any of the cringe worthy moments collapse under the weight of themselves into utter brilliance.

  10. John G  August 11, 2012

    “Are they edging Tom Baker towards the exit?”

    I think Sue has asked that question one story too soon! Sadly my prediction for her reaction to Nimon wasn’t quite right, although I get the impression that she enjoyed it more than she disliked it, despite the average score. I think it’s a very enjoyable story myself, inventive and fun and with a good strong role for Romana. Even Crowden manages to get away with his outrageous performance, as it just seems to fit in with the overall ambience of the story. The rosette scene is the only moment for me that goes too far into silliness.

    That question about Dudley was sly and well-timed – can’t wait for Sue’s reactions to Year Zero…

    • DPC  August 14, 2012

      Actually, a few articles do suggest Tom had fathomed that question long before the time you’re thinking… 🙂

      • John G  August 14, 2012

        I know that there was a major falling out between Tom and Williams around the time The Armageddon Factor was being made, and it seems as if Williams and his superiors did consider getting rid of him at that point, but only after Tom had threatened to resign first. In the event they changed their minds and persuaded Tom to stay on, without conceding his demands for more power behind the scenes. As far as I’m aware it was only once JNT and Bidmead took over that the production team started to deliberately push him towards the exit door.

  11. Lewis Christian  August 11, 2012

    Sue: Just reverse the polarity, love. It’s dead easy.

    Sue for the 12th Doctor! I’m glad Sue enjoyed this. It bodes well for the light-entertainment style to come in a few series’ time. Looking forward to the next one 😉

  12. Frankymole  August 11, 2012

    Is Sue not still banned from reading the comments?

    • Neil Perryman  August 11, 2012

      I can’t monitor her 24 hours a day. And it all depends on when she reads the update, if it’s quite late, she will read what’s already there. Just be careful.

      • Frankymole  August 14, 2012

        Thanks – wilco!

  13. Richard Lyth  August 11, 2012

    “It’s a planet where everyone evolved from the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” – brilliant! This is definitely one of the most “so bad it’s good” stories, everyone involved playing it for laughs and generally succeeding, except for Lalla Ward who gives possibly her best performance ever. The next update should be very interesting, whatever the subject turns out to be…

  14. Glen Allen  August 11, 2012

    “Have you never blown into the back of your computer when it stops working? You know, to blow out all the fluff? It makes perfect sense to me.”
    Now you say that, Ive done it quite a few times. I just thought it was very silly at the time and with an off the cuff comment Sue has just dismissed one of the bits I dislike about this story.

    I do have a soft spot for this though. Its not regarded a classic but the story itself is great. Ok so the Nimon costumes are a bit naff but if you look past the production values its a great tale.
    I must admit it is a guilty pleasure of mine.

    • Dan  August 11, 2012

      I ruined some of the functionality of my laptop by opening it to blast the fluff out – it did lower the temperature though.

  15. Philippa Sidle  August 11, 2012

    I remember Horns of Nimon as being the first time I began to suspect that not every episode of Doctor Who was wonderful. I don’t believe I’ve seen it since – I wonder how I’d feel about it now. One of the best things about this blog is that it inspires a desire to revisit the classic series, good, indifferent and hilariously bad.

    9/10 for the trailer this time, had me giggling out loud. I love the way you’re building suspense about the next update. Will you or won’t you…?

    • Glen Allen  August 11, 2012

      Oh Gawd. The trailers are now being scored?? LOL
      I’ll apologise for the next one now then….

      • PolarityReversed  August 12, 2012

        No need to get all prickly…

  16. Bryan Simcott  August 11, 2012

    II have always loved NIMON and found it odd the commenth people say about it being silly and a joke,

    You try being Lied to and decieved by someone who has promised you somethng only to find out that it was a con

    Graham Crowden then goes for being Power mad “ruler” of a planet to a break down as he reaslies hwat he has allwoed to happen and even helped them to achieve it.

    lalla Ward and Tom Baker are both superb in this ,lightening the mood a little form the darkness that is a mental breakdown , slaughter of hundreds on Crinoth and all those previous CHILDREN he has FEED to the Nimon.

    The man was pwer crazed and mad the Nimon just tipped him over the edge .

    I have never thought this silly . its very much warning the kids in that people who offer you something really really goo migh have other motives .

    And the Nimon are superb (yes they are a bit stilled (no pun intended) ) but generaly I find them very very good (and as a kid brilliant to play in the playground being a Nimon

    The Kids that looked a bit “stage school” rabbit in the headlights are just that, Children who know they are to be sacrifices to something big anf scary . I wounder how many of us would act normaly if it were to happen to us.

    nimon 8/10 from me

  17. Broadshoulder2  August 11, 2012

    End of an era. It takes nine years but after this one Who was on borrowed time. The culture shock of this one and what is to come is so jarring that I never got over it. The party stops here.

    • Dan  August 11, 2012

      Haha perhaps we should discuss whatever it is you’re talking about after the next or next but one update..

      • Dan  August 16, 2012

        Now I can reply to this without fear of giving much away. I wouldn’t go nearly as far as saying that I never got over it. Everything changes, but it’s true this is the end of the classic series as was in a way. It’s a real demarcation point, and it’s strange to think I was still only nine when The Leisure Hive went out. Looking back it feels as though years must have passed between the end of Nimon and the beginning of Hive. That must only seem so via a retrospective outlook, and in the context of everything that came after.

        The horror element was reduced after Hinchcliffe, and now the humour is largely taken out. There’s still a lot of interesting ideas, but it seems JN-T was never a script person and a little obsessed with redressing the perceived production failures of the past.

        However, there are still a number of classic stories left – City of Death is not the last – and I continued to enjoy the series often and for a long time. After all it’s still a dimensionally transcendental time machine in the shape of a police box that can travel anywhere in time and space…

        And I’m so looking forward to hearing Sue’s and Neil’s and Nicol’s and maybe Gary’s comments on the rest of it, because the way it plays out from now on has its own fascination, right down to the present day. I love this blog!

    • Glen Allen  August 11, 2012

      No way Pedro (Only Fools & Horses reference)
      The party does definitely not stop here

      • PolarityReversed  August 12, 2012

        Mais, bonne bouche!
        Party isn’t quite over yet, but the schmaltzy snogging music is definitely on the turntable AFAIC…

    • DPC  August 12, 2012

      I doubt it…

      There are eras and episodes, both good and bad, in each…

      • Dan  August 12, 2012

        If this blog’s taught me anything it’s that. Also that miracles happen.

  18. Perry Armstrong  August 11, 2012

    There are indeed a lot of spaceship model shots around this period of Dr Who, and my personal nickname for season 17 is ‘The Spaceship Season’ (which is probably one of the nicer things it’s been called!).

  19. Matthew Kilburn  August 11, 2012

    I’m startled by the frighteningly plausible paedophilia allusions… and also by the idea that Tom is carrying around a coke spoon. (There’s a poem about Tom in a recent anthology, Split Screen, which also speculates about which drugs he was on; and at the time of broadcast the only coke of which I knew was Coca-Cola.)

    I’m fond of this one, and glad that Sue likes much of it. A pity that there is not as much consistency as necessary in the interpretation of the script.

  20. Thomas  August 12, 2012

    “Graham Crowden almost played the fourth Doctor.

    Really? That was a lucky escape.”

    Once again, I think Sandifer’s reading on the story is invaluable:
    http://tardiseruditorum.blogspot.com/2012/01/through-endless-shifting-maze-horns-of.html

    My view on Crowden is similar, in that if he was considered for the Fourth Doctor (and this would be by Barry Letts, who we know cast at least 5 or 6 other parts extremely well), then he must have been a very good actor, and this is a deliberate choice to go OTT and ‘ham it up’. I haven’t seen Nimon yet, but I can’t imagine it being that great, mostly for the reasons outlined in the essay (I’m two stories away in my own chronological viewing- this and the previous one make it very hard to move forward).

    • P.Sanders  August 12, 2012

      I vaguely remember reading that when shooting the death scene, Crowden thought it was either a camera rehearsal or that they would get another take and so hammed it up expecting to get another go at it properly. May be an apocryphal story from the era before video, used to help bolster the accepted fan wisdom of the time that this was the “worst story ever” and shoddily made in a hurry for sixpence. Glad fan opinion has changed a little, and that stories like Nimon, Eden and the Gunfighters are now viewed in a kinder light.

      • tom_harries  August 12, 2012

        I’ve heard the same thing about the camera rehearsal more than once. Don’t know if it’s true. Given the occasional communication problems between the gallery and the studio floor, it’s not impossible.

        Crowden turned down the 4th Doctor because at that stage in his career he didn’t want to do a series for more than one year, in case something else came up. He was a very good actor (he played both eccentrics and authority figures equally well) but kind of like Tom in that he often got typecast as oddball types and frequently ‘played up’ to type.

        • PolarityReversed  August 12, 2012

          My mother had a bit part in a Hammer horror film once. Her only scene involved a medieval banquet where a beggar was taunted into dancing for food scraps. The actor playing the beggar had asked her how long she had on the shoot, then winked and said: “don’t worry, I’ll get you an extra day’s work.”

          So come the scene, he hams his performance to the sky assuming they’ll have to do retakes.
          “Cut and print!” came the call. He hated the take and protested, but that’s what made it on to the screen.

          • Frankymole  August 12, 2012

            Didn’t the beggar go on to father a werewolf? If it’s that Oliver Reed film. “Curse of the Werewolf”?

          • PolarityReversed  August 12, 2012

            Gold medal to you for hammer-catching!

      • Professor Thascales  August 12, 2012

        I don’t know if the thought-it-was-a-rehearsal story is true, but I read it on the DVD subtitles. I was disappointed–Soldeed’s death scene is so funny.

        I always loved this story as a guilty-pleasure, so-bad-it’s-good thing. Then I read a critic who pointed out several things it does well, and I guess I agree. Nimon is a mixture of so-bad-it’s-good and things that are actually good.

    • John G  August 12, 2012

      Crowden was a fine actor – I have fond memories of his performance in the sitcom Waiting for God, an underrated show which never got the critical praise it deserved. I think he would have made a good Doctor.

  21. Tim Cook  August 12, 2012

    Oh well, the fun’s over for a while. Wake me up when we get to season 21.

  22. Jack  August 12, 2012

    I did double check, but the pant-splitting scene seems to have escaped attention!

    • DPC  August 14, 2012

      Scary, isn’t it? 😀

  23. BWT  August 12, 2012

    So many quotes to comment on this time ’round:

    “…are they running an intergalactic paedophile ring?”
    …SUE!!! I’ll never be able to look at this story in the same way again…

    “We used to have curtains made from the same material as that when I was growing up. Same colour, too.”
    …So did we; the 1970s have a lot to answer for. (Thanks for bringing that particular orange, bri-nylon memory back)

    “That’s made from egg boxes. The old grey egg boxes you used to get in the seventies.”
    …We still get them over here. Those big, grey egg trays, aren’t they?

    “We do our eighties dance. It’s not pretty.”
    …Ah, yes – my era. Let’s face it, there was a lot about the 1980s that wasn’t pretty. Upon reflection, I think I preferred the 1970s…

    “Just give Romana her own show and be done with it.”
    …I agree; lovely girl – both of her. (fnar, fnar…)

    What’s a Nimon’s favourite dish? Teka Masala… (I’ll get me coat)

  24. Graeme Robertson  August 12, 2012

    Though its reputation was rescued slightly by “The God Complex”, I can never wipe the fact of Simon Gipps-Kent’s early death in real life watching this, so it’s no fun. He’s Seth BTW.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Gipps-Kent

  25. Graeme Robertson  August 12, 2012

    Plus, the last thing I’d seen of Simon was him getting castrated in “The Devil’s Crown” 18 months earlier.

    Sue is right – Seth & Teka would have been ideal companions, and would probably have spared us from 2 who very soon were.

  26. Alex Wilcock  August 12, 2012

    Phew. After a few weeks of limited internet access for one reason and another, I’ve been skimming through Sue’s words of wisdom at speed – I might go back and post on some, belatedly, but for the moment I’m glad, at least, that she loved one of my absolute favourite seasons (will she do the same for another, just around the corner?), despite the awful timing.

    I’ll stick right now to guardedly guessing at Neil’s next offering. There are three possibilities, aren’t there, and I suspect it’s the middle one, but here goes: The L…? The conservative choice (until you watch it)? Or S…? But of which variety? Or the barking CornellToppingDay placing of D…?

    Or will Neil combine all three by getting Sue to drop a tab and imagine her own story?

    • Frankymole  August 12, 2012

      Is “the conservative choice (until you watch it)” season 3 of Blakes 7? Or can you give another hint (like a letter/initial)? I get the others…

    • PolarityReversed  August 13, 2012

      Scuse me if I’m missing the point through thickery, but isn’t he just going to do the next one that was on the telly?
      I can’t even imagine what D… is.

      • Frankymole  August 16, 2012

        Dimensions in Time. The Discontinuity Guide put it before The Leisure Hive.

        • Nick Mays  August 16, 2012

          It was a load of old rubbish even by 80s Who standards, so does anyone care?

  27. encyclops  August 12, 2012

    I totally called the 5/10! It’s a fair score, though this is one of the stories I can acknowledge the flaws of while thoroughly enjoying. I LOVED it as a kid, and still find plenty to like as an adult. I still think the Nimon costumes are fabulous (as distinct from convincing) and they’re among my favorite monsters as a result. It’s hard to make being lost in a labyrinth dramatically exciting, though, and while I loved to hate Soldeed as a kid I just hate him as an adult. Nails on a chalkboard.

    So we’ve had two also-rans for the fourth Doctor this season, both rather gaunt, bearded, older-seeming men. It’s so difficult for me to picture either in the role, and equally hard for me to imagine Richard Griffiths in it. I don’t know if every Doctor casting has seemed a good choice due to hindsight, or if it’s just that they’ve been very good at it (even if they haven’t always made wise choices about how they’ve directed the actors to play the role).

  28. Ritch Ludlow  August 12, 2012

    The suspense is killing me.

  29. chris-too-old-too-watch  August 12, 2012

    NOOOOOOOOO: Enough of the “it’s good because it’s rubbish” quotes. It’s rubbish FULL STOP.

  30. Steven  August 12, 2012

    Seems to me that when the original wit dries up out comes all the more..lets say..crude lines…not very pleasent to read …eg, “is that Bakers coke spoon'” etc etc Appreciate commenting on so many episodes obviously repeatition has to speep in..and yes this episode is pretty dire but please up the game a little and try and get it back to the more witty banter which was so delightful to read late 60’s – mid 70’s.

    • Dan  August 12, 2012

      You could just ask for your money back. What’s crude about coke spoons?

  31. Graeme C-G  August 12, 2012

    Fair score … probably a tad higher than I would give it. Looking forward to the next few stories as some of my personal favourites are coming up and indeed some of my very earliest memories of Doctor Who.

  32. Simon Harries  August 12, 2012

    The pant-splitting scene is funny… another aspect of this story which I really like, but which has gone unnoticed, is the earnest acting by the background artistes. There are a couple of Anethans who are working very, very hard indeed – listening to everything that’s being said in the foreground, sometimes nodding in fierce agreement and at other times looking very, very worried. They’re the great unsung heroes of episodes one and two! BTW I don’t mind if either 5M or 5N turn up next, but it really ought to be 5N, for several very obvious reasons.

    • PolarityReversed  August 12, 2012

      5M 5N?

      Didn’t think there was any dispute about it from our esteemed ringmaster’s POV.
      He could get all postmodern on us, and put up a blank, of course.

      • Simon Harries  August 13, 2012

        Or even 5Q, that would confuse the ****ers!

  33. Paul Mc Elvaney  August 12, 2012

    Sue might want to get used to The Doctor carrying spoons…can’t wait for the culture shock of Season 18!!

    • Frankymole  August 12, 2012

      A teaspoon and an open mind. Didn’t he tackle Erato’s wrecked egg ship with a spoon? Stands to reason.

      • Paul Mc Elvaney  August 12, 2012

        Well, it’s certainly more, eh, unique than using a boring old gun.

  34. Nick Mays  August 13, 2012

    “Stay tuned because Janet will show us how to make our very own Skonnan power complex in the next edition of Blue Peter.””

    Tea all over PC screen! Nice one, Neil! ;o)

  35. Kieran M  August 13, 2012

    “Suddenly, everyone’s voices begin to distort as the gravity increases…

    Sue: Is there something wrong with the DVD?

    Me: No, that’s supposed to happen.”

    – I binned my VHS copy because of that.

  36. Peruvian marching powder  August 14, 2012

    The Nimon be praised!

  37. Lokster71  August 14, 2012

    I love the ‘Horns of Nimon’ but then I’m a fan of Season 17 in general, which I know puts me in something of a minority. It’s basically my comfort Doctor Who. If I’m in a bad mood ‘The Horns of Nimon’ never fails to cheer me up. I’ve even got a ‘Horns of Nimon’ drinking game.

    The teaspoon is the one he has in ‘Creature From The Pit’. That and his open mind.

    • Frankymole  August 14, 2012

      Although I’m on the wagon, I’d love to see your Nimon drinking game!

  38. Doc Whom  August 16, 2012

    How did Sue get through a conversation about a fox-hunting Viscount’s daughter without once using the word “posh”?

    Who said that Neil and Sue don’t respond to feedback? You see, this is the acceptable face of capitalism. The supplier changes to match customer demand.

    Market driven blogging. It’s all the rage.