Me: Here, Sue, grab this firmly and pull.
Don’t worry, it isn’t 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: Just so we’re clear, I’m not putting this hat on.
The story begins with a large spaceship hurtling through the cosmos. Hang on a minute… Didn’t I begin the last entry like this?
Sue: Doctor Who always starts 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 an aggravated co-pilot.
Sue: A fat Kiefer Sutherland.
In the hold of this ship, a group of youngsters are cowering in fear.
Sue: Oh, it’s whatshername 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 you fancy her daughter, though.
Me: It’s Janet Ellis. And if it’s any consolation, I had a schoolboy crush on Janet as well.
Meanwhile, the Doctor is tinkering with his TARDIS and Romana is less than impressed with the results.
Sue: Is she going fox hunting?
Me: I think it’s more likely Romana would sabotage a fox hunt.
Sue: Lalla suits that outfit a bit too much, if you ask me. She looks like she might have been on a few fox hunts in her time.
Me: Well, she is the daughter of a viscount.
Sue: I knew it! They’re probably her own clothes.
The Doctor’s tinkering results in a small explosion and K9 ends up with his head facing the wrong way. So the Doctor blows into K9’s nozzle, effectively giving the dog CPR.
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 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.
Sue: 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 Howards’ 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 when I mentioned A Very Peculiar Practice (which she adores), the penny dropped.
Sue: Hang on, wasn’t he always drunk in A Very Peculiar Practice, as well?
The TARDIS slams into the ship from Skonnos.
Sue: That’s two stories on the trot where we’ve seen spaceships crashing into each other. That’s bad script editing, that is.
The co-pilot takes some time out from repairing his ship to shout at the children trapped in the hold.
Sue: Dial it back a bit, mate.
And then she begins to worry.
Sue: We had drugs last week, so I’m almost scared to ask this, but are they running an intergalactic paedophile ring?
When the Doctor and Romana enter the crippled ship, they are press-ganged into fixing its engines. We learn Romana has built her very own sonic screwdriver and Sue is amused when the Doctor tries to steal it from her.
Sue: I bet hers has more settings than his.
K9 is hidden beneath a mountain of tape back on the TARDIS.
Sue: I see they had some bunting left over from the Silver Jubilee.
The cast’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 absolutely sure one of the cats hasn’t sat on the remote control?
The Doctor is tinkering in his TARDIS and it’s left to Romana to sort things out. Sue likes this a lot.
Sue: You go, girl.
The Skonnan co-pilot locks Romana in the hold with the Anethan children. “The Nimon waits for no man!” he cries.
Sue: Okay, they’re just taking the piss now.
When Sue eventually meets the Nimon, it’s a profoundly moving moment for everybody concerned.
Sue: No ****ing way. What the **** is that supposed to be?
The episode concludes with the Doctor cradling K9 in his arms as his broken TARDIS hurtles towards a planet.
Sue: That was a dreadful cliffhanger. Is Tom Baker working his notice? Does he regenerate at the end of this story? I really don’t think he can be arsed any more.
Sue: What a load of bollocks.
The Doctor is preparing to face death.
Sue: The Doctor wouldn’t give up like that. What’s he playing at?
When the Doctor pins a rosette to K9, Sue turns to me and scowls.
Sue: This is ****ing stupid.
Me: It isn’t my fault!
The TARDIS spins off the planet like a cricket ball spinning off a cricket bat, which 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. Have they never heard of scale?
The Nimon and Soldeed discuss their nefarious plans.
Me: I like the way the bull has a crafty dance when Soldeed isn’t looking. He can’t stop grooving! Look at those rapper hand movements. He is so down with the kids.
Of course, Nicol had to choose that moment to walk in on us.
Nicol: Is he the Master?
Me: For ****’s sake!
Sue: At least Romana is taking this seriously. She’s holding this together, just about.
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, Neil.
One of the Aneth prisoners, a young boy named Seth, confides in Romana 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 to find out that he’s just an ordinary bloke.
Sue: Aw, bless him. Is he the new companion? I do hope so.
She doesn’t like what Seth is wearing, though.
Sue: It looks like they’ve kidnapped a Judo team.
The Doctor attempts to fly his TARDIS without a gravitic anomoliser and it reacts by playing a BBC Sound Effects record at full blast.
Sue: What the hell was that supposed to be?
Romana takes charge of the situation.
Sue: Are they edging Tom towards the exit? Are they trying to sideline him, like they did with 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 by now?
Meanwhile, on Skonnos, a military escort brings Romana and the Anethan to Soldeed.
Sue: It’s a planet where all the people evolved from the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
The Doctor puts the TARDIS in a parking orbit above the power complex on Skonnos.
Sue: That’s made from egg boxes. The old grey egg boxes you used to get in the 1970s.
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 is immediately surrounded by heavily-armed troops. He laments the fact that people always end up pointing guns at him.
Sue: And they’re always dressed as sex pests, as well.
Romana and the Anethans are placed in a maze, where they find 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.
Sue: Yeah, he’s definitely drunk.
The episode concludes with the Nimon threatening Romana and the kids.
Sue: That was a bit crap.
Me: We’ve reached the 1980s!
We do our 1980s dance. It isn’t pretty.
Sue: So, does everything change overnight, then?
Me: 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’ (high) heel.
Sue: (As the Nimon) These bloody shoes are killing me! I knew I should have put some trainers on this morning instead!
The Doctor distracts the Nimon with a red rag, while 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. You know, I don’t think I’ve seen this many explosions in a Doctor Who story before…
Romana escapes with Seth and Teka.
Sue: At least she managed to save two of them. And they’re the best two. They can actually talk.
The Nimon roars in anger.
Sue: He has to roar like that. No one takes him seriously otherwise.
I ask her if she remembers the Matt Smith story which features a minotaur in a maze (The God Complex), and I tell her the Nimon are distantly related to the monster in that story.
Sue: That’s very nice, dear, but it doesn’t make this one any better, does it?
The Nimon adjusts some knobs on his equipment racks.
Sue: He’s the Nimon version of Orbital.
The Nimon powers up his machine.
Sue: Considering they have a monster who can’t walk properly, they’re 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 flat in the first place.
When the Doctor starts poking around the Nimon’s machinery, Sue has a confession to make.
Sue: I’ll 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.
It turns out the Nimon are double-crossing Soldeed.
Sue: Are you sure he isn’t the Master? This happened to him all the time.
Soldeed tells the council leaders of Skonnos 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 in that corridor. I couldn’t hear a bloody thing at the end of that scene.
The Nimon is rapidly approaching our heroes, so Seth sends Teka to warn the Doctor.
Sue: He doesn’t want her around when he wets himself.
The Nimon enters the laboratory and everybody hides.
Sue: Hypnotise it. Or sing a lullaby to it. Or whistle at it. You’ve dealt with worse than this, Doctor.
The Nimon adjusts the settings on his equipment one more time.
Sue: Oh look – a squatting bull with flatulence. I’ve seen it all now.
As if by magic, a round capsule suddenly appears.
Sue: Wait! Is it the Sontarans? They love turning up at the end.
No, it’s even more Nimons.
Sue: Yay! He finally got his band back together.
It’s at this point Sue notices the Doctor has been carrying a teaspoon with him all this time.
Sue: Is that Tom Baker’s coke spoon?
Soldeed decides to have a chat with his Nimon overlord.
Sue: (As Soldeed) Cooeee! Nimon, I’m home!
The episode concludes with Romana trapped on the planet of the Nimons while Soldeed threatens to blow the Doctor’s head off.
Sue: This is definitely starting to pick up now.
Romana isn’t pleased that she isn’t on Skonnos anymore.
Sue: Just reverse the polarity, pet. 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.
Sue: 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. And then Soldeed goes and spoils it.
Sue: He’s got more ham than Ye Olde Oak!
As a Nimon shuffles down a corridor, Sue gets off the sofa so she can mimic its shambling gait.
Me: They hired ballet dancers to play the Nimon.
Sue: Ballet dancers? Are they joking? They have no finesse! They 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.
Sue: For all we know, the Nimon are an alien race which don’t have peripheral vision. That would explain why they always look like they’re about to topple over.
Romana and Sezom try to escape the planet.
Sue: Just give Romana her own show and be done with it.
And she’s gutted when Sezom is killed by a Nimon.
Me: Why are you bothered? He was only in this for five minutes!
Sue: He was the best thing in this.
The Doctor is trying to override the controls to the transporter when he’s interrupted by a Nimon.
Sue: Does he actually do anything in this story besides fiddle with stuff?
At the final, crucial moment, Seth becomes the hero Teka always wanted him to be. So Soldeed shoots him.
Sue: But he can’t die! He’s the next companion!
Luckily, the shot isn’t fatal, but Seth is gutted when he discovers Teka has been lined up as the Nimons’ next ready-meal.
Sue: When fans go to conventions, do they go to Indian restaurants together and shout, “Teka! Teka!” like they’re in The Horns of Nimon?
Me: How did you know?
Soldeed realises he’s been betrayed by the Nimon.
Sue: He’s progressed from alcohol to class A drugs, now. 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 Doctor, you know.
Sue: Really? That was a lucky escape. Tom Baker is 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, as well.
The Nimon pursue our heroes.
Sue: Pursue? That’s easier said than done when you’re 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 Sue is humming along to Dudley Simpson’s score under her breath again.
Me: 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: Look at all those poor egg boxes.
Me: There’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 could have 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.
Me: See, it’s all based on something kids might have studied at school. Isn’t that nice?
Sue: You can call The Horns of Nimon many things, Neil, but educational definitely isn’t one of them.
The episode concludes with the Doctor gently teasing Romana.
Sue: They’re definitely shagging at this point. No question about it.
Sue: That was average. The plot was silly, the Nimon were silly, and some of the acting was very 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 worse. Lalla was great, too, which is a bloody good job because Tom couldn’t be arsed. They are running out of money, as well, by the look of it. In fact, I think they all need a good lie down.