THE VISITATION

Part One

Yes, for the first time since The Three Doctors, Sue’s older brother, Gary, has decided to join us for an episode or two.

Sue: It’s 1982, Gary. How old would you have been?
Gary: 26.
Me: What were you doing on Mondays and Tuesdays at 7pm, Gary?
Gary: If I told you that, you wouldn’t be able to print it.

Moving swiftly on.

Sue: Ahhh, wood. Lots and lots of wood. I love the historical stories, you know where you are with them straight away.

A young woman named Elizabeth looks out of a window at a pair of falling stars. They light up the sky like fireworks.

Sue: (As Elizabeth) Papa! It’s that bloody Jean Michel Jarre playing in our field again. You can hear his electronic racket from here.

It doesn’t take long for Sue to pass judgement on Peter Moffatt.

The VisitationSue: Who directed this? We’ve been looking at the same boring three-shot for ages. I wouldn’t mind if it was a good three-shot, but it isn’t. Look at the composition, it’s terrible.

Down in the cellar, something bronchial is heading up the stairs. We follow its progress via a shaky POV shot.

Sue: It’s Michael Myers from Halloween. With a ray gun.

A gloved fist punches its way through a door and when Gary and Sue get a good look at its owner, they howl with laughter.

Gary: It’s a gay Iron Man.

Meanwhile, on the TARDIS, Adric is doing what he does best. And what he does best is annoying everyone around him.

Gary: He’s a very pretty boy.
Sue: That’s Adric. I used to like Adric. I don’t know what went wrong but I can’t stand him now.
Gary: Why is he dressed for bed? Not that I’m complaining.
Sue: You sound like John Nathan-Turner.

Tegan talks to Nyssa about her recent experience with the Mara.

The VisitationGary: I thought you said this was the first episode. I don’t know what they are going on about. What have I missed?
Sue: Well, Gary, let’s see… Olkay, so Tegan basically got taken over by a snake last week. It was very symbolic and Buddhist and stuff.
Gary: Tegan? You named your cat after an Australian air hostess?
Sue: Don’t look at me. Blame Neil!

Tegan is still desperately trying to return to Heathrow airport.

Sue: What’s the rush? Could somebody explain to Tegan how time travel works, please. I’m sure Adric has nothing better to do.
Gary: (As Tegan, if Tegan was Welsh) Chicken or beef? Tea or coffee?
Sue: Time or space?
Tegan: I know I haven’t always been the best of companions.
Sue: That’s an understatement, love. I hope she makes her plane, she’s stressing me out.

Sadly, the TARDIS has arrived on Earth three hundred years too early. And the place stinks, too.

Sue: My money is on Adric. He looks very shifty in this scene.

The Doctor and his companions are set upon by villagers armed with cudgels.

Sue: Peter Davison’s Doctor is pretty handy. That’s the first time I’ve seen him throw his weight around. Hmm. Nice.
Me: Snap out of it. I’m still here, you know.

Adric runs away but he ends up flat on his face.

Sue: He can’t even trip over properly. That was terrible. Shall we do a re-take? Nah, that’ll do.

The VisitationSitting in a tree is the thespian Richard Mace.

Gary: Oh, it’s him from On the Buses.
Sue: Reg Varney?

Gary: No, the other one. Olive’s husband, Arthur. (As Olive) “Arfur! Arfur!”

I’m sure we did this last week.

Me: That’s 10 points to Gary. Well done.
Sue: That’s not fair.
Me: Don’t worry, there are 100 points available to the first person who can tell me which EastEnders actor plays the lead villain.

Richard Mace leads the Doctor and his companions to a nearby barn.

Sue: The location is wonderful. There’s so much wood, I don’t know where to look.
Gary: I’m too busy looking at the boy who won’t stop playing with his balls.

Richard Mace is lonely, too.

Mace: After many weeks alone in the woods, I would risk anything for an hour’s good conversation.
Sue: You’ll have a job with this lot. I hope you like talking about maths.

Mace tells the Doctor about strange lights in the sky.

Sue: He sounds like Russell Crowe. It’s uncanny.

The VisitationThe Doctor and Adric explore the barn’s hayloft.

Sue: Peter Davison is right at home here, digging around in hay and horse shit.
Me: I hope he doesn’t stick his fist up Adric’s arse by mistake.
Gary: Oh, I don’t know.

Nyssa finds some power packs.

Gary: She looks like Carol Vorderman in a wig.
Me: She’s as clever as Carol Vorderman.
Sue: She’s almost as annoying as Carol Vorderman.

The Doctor is confounded when he finds a staircase that has blocked up with a brick wall.

Sue: The aliens must have had the builders in. And they must be aliens because I’m sure that type of brickwork didn’t exist back then.

Sue, brick expert.

Mace has impeccable taste:

The VisitationMace: I find this house full of style and quality.
Sue: He’s very good. Then again, anyone would look good standing next to these three berks.

As the Doctor tries to work out the significance of the wall, an android appears.

Gary: Oh dear. Alvin Stardust has just locked them in.
Sue: What a rubbish cliffhanger. The direction in this episode is appalling.
Me: Are you going to stay for Part Two, Gary?
Gary: No, I have to wash my hair.
Me: But you haven’t got any hair.

And with that, Gary was gone. Who knows if he’ll ever visit us again.

 

Part Two

The VisitationThe android locks the door again.

Sue: He’s wearing a vejazzled cricket glove. They’re all the rage now, you know.

The Doctor walks through the wall.

Nyssa: Oh, thank heavens!
Sue: Yes, thank heavens you’ve been killed and are now a ghost. That will be really helpful.

The Doctor can smell the unmistakable aroma of soliton gas.

Sue: You can’t blame Adric this time.

Mace decides to get pissed.

Sue: I love this guy. He has all the best lines. He’s the only interesting thing in this.

The android appears again, but this time it is dressed in a black cape and skeleton mask.

The VisitationSue: I was only joking when I said it was Michael Myers. But it really, really is.

Tegan is shot. The Doctor runs away.

The Doctor: Adric, look after her. I’ll be back!
Sue: WHAT? Are you completely insane? The direction in that scene was abysmal. I think that may be the worst directed action scene in the whole series so far.

When we meet a Terileptil for the first time, Sue sighs.

Sue: Is the actor under that mask the guy from EastEnders you were talking about?
Me: Yes, and it’s worth 100 points if you get it.
Sue: Typical. Okay, I can do this… Hmmm… is it Dr Legg?
Me: No.
Sue: Pete Beale?
Me: No.
Sue: How am I supposed to guess this? It’s impossible! Okay, is it Nasty Nick?
Me: No.
Sue: Well in that case, I give up.
The VisitationMe: I’ll give you a clue: he was the Queen Vic’s landlord at one point.
Sue: Dirty Den?
Me: Don’t be silly.
Sue: Barbara Windsor with a cold? I don’t bloody know!
Me: It’s Michael Melia. He played Eddie Royle.
Sue: Who?
Me: Eddie Royle.
Sue: Never heard of him.
Me: He was killed.
Sue: That doesn’t help.

Mace refuses to believe that other worlds exist.

Sue: Oliver Reed would have enjoyed playing this part.

The android locks Tegan and Adric in a cell.

Sue: Here comes the Glitterbot again. No wonder they make it walk around in a cape. No one would take it seriously if it went out of the house dressed like that.

By the halfway point, Sue wants to throttle Peter Moffatt.

Sue: I can’t get over how bad the direction is. It’s so flat. Peter Davison is pretty good, and he works well with this guy, but once again, it’s just showing us how ridiculously shitty his normal companions are.

The Terileptil leader is controlling the villagers, including one guy with a bow and arrow.

Sue: At least the Zelda music is appropriate this week, that’s something, I guess.

The VisitationAdric tries to open a window.

Adric: It’s stiff!
Sue: Stick your hands in your pockets, you might be able to hide it.

The episode concludes with the Doctor and Mace facing summary execution.

Sue: Not again!
The Doctor: Not again!
Sue: Hey, drawing attention to the fact that your script editor is an idiot doesn’t make it any better, you know. God, this is tedious.

 

Part Three

The VisitationAs the executioner prepares to bring his scythe down upon the Doctor’s exposed neck, Sue spots a fatal flaw:

Sue: It’s impossible to execute somebody like that. The point of the scythe will hit the ground long before the blade reaches the Doctor’s neck. The only way to do it would be to pull the scythe up from below the neck, taking the head off in a backward, sweeping motion. The idiots.

It’s academic anyway because the execution has been stayed, thanks to some very important men with beards.

Sue: Good Lord. The direction is killing me now. Has he never heard of a close-up? It’s just blokes milling around like they are sharing a really cramped stage together. It’s embarrassing.

It turns out that the Terileptil leader was tortured and scarred during his stay at the tinclavic mines on Raaga.

Sue: He’s basically an alien Two Face. Actually, I think the mould went wrong and they had to write this bit in to explain the damage. That’s my theory anyway.

She is impressed with the overall effect, though.

Sue: The mouth on the mask works really well, and I like the way the nose and the gills move. It’s just the neck I don’t like. Still, it’s not bad, if a bit generic.

Meanwhile, in the TARDIS.

Sue: Why is Nyssa listening to early Genesis? I’m sure this track is from Trespass. And what is she doing with that hostess trolley? Oooh, that’s a nice bedspread.

Nyssa returns to the console room.

The VisitationSue: A beautiful piece of wood.
Me: You are very cruel to Nyssa.
Sue: I’m talking about the wooden thing standing next to her. That wood has been turned beautifully. I’m really impressed with that.

Sue is shocked when she finds out there are more than one Terileptil.

Sue: The one of the left is very happy about something. Look at that insane grin of his!

Adric is supposed to be keeping his eye out for trouble, but when some villagers begin to advance on the TARDIS, he decides to slip under the console for a bit.

Sue: What is he doing under there? Has he gone for a Twix?
Me: The alternative really doesn’t bear thinking about.

Adric helps Nyssa assemble her sonic booster by bringing her some heavy-duty cable.

Sue: My! What a big hose you have, Adric!
Me: What has gotten into you recently, Sue?
Sue: It’s not my fault! It’s the sexual tension between these two. They should get a room! I bet the TARDIS has plenty.

The Doctor offers to help the Terileptils settle on another planet but their leader doesn’t want to negotiate.

Sue: He wants the moon on a stick. The Doctor gave him a chance, now he’ll have to take him down. All bets are off.

Then, suddenly…

Sue: **** me! A close-up! A brief, fleeting close-up. Give the director a medal.

Adric and Nyssa continue to bicker in the TARDIS.

The VisitationSue: Sexual tension!
Nyssa: Oh, why won’t he listen to me?
Sue: It’s because he’s a twat with raging hormones, Nyssa. Give him 10 years; I’m sure he’ll grow out of it.

Adric races off into the forest.

Sue: He can’t even run properly. Oh for God’s sake, he just looked straight down the camera lens. What a pillock.

The Doctor can’t reconcile the Terliptils’ love of art and beauty with their thirst for genocide.

Sue: If that robot is their idea of art, God help them.

The Doctor is locked in another cell.

Sue: Not again! How many times is that now? Still, at least there’s plenty of wood for me to admire.

The Terleptil destroys the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver.

Sue doesn’t react.

So I pause the DVD.

The VisitationMe: Well?
Sue: Well what?
Me: He just destroyed the sonic screwdriver!
Sue: So what? Nyssa can knock him up another one in a couple of hours. I don’t see what the big deal is. It’s not as if he doesn’t get himself a new one. Get some perspective, Neil.

The episode concludes with a brainwashed Tegan about to release some plague rats into the room.

Sue: And that’s three terrible cliffhangers in a row. Shall we finish on a close-up of a rat? No. Shall we zoom in on Tegan as she opens the cage? Nah, that’ll do. That’s a ****ing wrap.

 

Part Four

Sue: So let me get this straight: this lot are going to steal the TARDIS and then they’re going to use it to travel the universe shopping for androids? They are having a laugh!

When the Terileptil is seen in broad daylight, Sue can’t believe what she’s seeing.

Sue: Why is the alien wearing a brown g-string?

Meanwhile, back on the TARDIS, Nyssa puts the finishing touches to her sonic device.

Sue: What is she making again? I’ve completely forgotten. It’s not a fridge, is it?

The Doctor escapes from his bonds with the help of a safety pin. A little later, the Doctor uses the very same pin to short-circuit an electronic lock.

Sue: Is this the replacement for the sonic screwdriver? A safety pin? Handy for the kids, I suppose, but very difficult to market.

When Nyssa notices Adric approaching the TARDIS, she rushes outside to greet him.

Sue: She’s sending mixed signals to Adric. One minute she’s bickering with him, the next minute she wants to give him a big hug.

But wait! The android is hiding behind the TARDIS! Nyssa races inside while Adric tries to kick it to death with his Wellington boots. But it’s all in vain and the android gains entry to the ship.

The VisitationSue: Nyssa left the bloody doors open AGAIN!

The android drops its disguise.

Sue: It’s not so scary when it looks like a prop from Starlight Express.

Nyssa shakes the android to death with her sonic booster.

Sue: So she was making a huge vibrator in her bedroom? Okay, fair enough.

Nyssa is sad.

Nyssa: I’m fine. Just a little sad. It was such a magnificent machine.
Sue: Don’t worry, they’ll be other vibrators, love.

And then Adric pilots the TARDIS. He manages to land it on a sixpence next to the Doctor.

Sue: Un-****ing-believable.

The VisitationThe Doctor searches for the Terileptils hidden base with some maps of old London town.

Sue: Does anyone have a lute so we can play the theme to EastEnders over this?

The Terileptil meets up with his comrades at their secret bakery base.

Sue: Bloody hell! Is that a bong? Are they trying to get high? It would explain their ridiculous plan, I suppose. Shopping for androids, indeed.

The Doctor and his gang (there are too many of the ****ers to list) reach the bakers.

Sue: Is it definitely a bakery? The red lighting in there makes it look like a brothel.

At this point, Adric becomes distracted by one of his inexplicable erections and he topples into some boxes. There is no other explanation.

The story concludes with a badly staged fight scene and the Doctor committing arson.

Sue: Right. So the Doctor just started the Great Fire of London. That’s heroic.

The VisitationAs the place burns to the ground, the Doctor ushers his companions out of the door.

Sue: When he pushed Adric outside, he did it with such venom. He really doesn’t like him very much.

The Doctor leaves Mace to clear up the mess. It’s only a small fire after all.

Sue: He always leaves the wrong person behind! It’s becoming a habit.

He leaves Mace with a souvenir – part of the control panel from the Terileptil base.

Sue: Okay, so the Doctor started a huge fire and he ****ed with the time line as well. Well that’s just great, isn’t it?

 

The Score

Sue: That was crap. The only redeeming features were the wood, the bloke from On the Buses and Peter Davison. Everything else, and especially the direction, was dreadful. There was nothing to it. Bland, boring, bollocks.

3/10

 

Coming Soon

 

And finally…

It gives me great pleasure to tell you that an Adventures with the Wife in Space book will be released by Faber & Faber in August 2013. You can even pre-order if you like. For 30 minutes on Tuesday, we were selling more copies than Keith Lemon’s Official 2013 calendar!

However, before you buy this book, you might like to know what’s in it.

Subtitled Life with Doctor Who, the book won’t be a collection of blog posts. This blog will probably end up running to half a million words, and we couldn’t possibly stuff them all into a 240 page hardback, unless it came with its very own electron microscope. Instead, the book will act as a companion to the blog. And while the book will include some edited extracts from the website, it will probably make up less than a quarter of its content.

The Wife in SpaceThe book will be, in a nutshell, the story of me, Sue and Doctor Who. Part memoir, part confessional, part therapy, the book will – I hope! – complement the journey we are still taking.

If that sounds like something you might be interested in, please pre-order a copy while I’m still writing it. Because that isn’t scary at all.

The book will be available for the Kindle and there are plans to release it internationally. I’m sure these options will be added over the next few months and I’ll keep you informed.

This doesn’t mean that a blog compendium won’t be made available at some later date (either as a limited print run in three volumes, or as an electronic collection with added extras, we haven’t decided yet), but at the moment my only priority is to complete this experiment and to meet my deadline with Faber. Hopefully, my mad dash to reach the end makes sense now. I also have plans for the gap between January and August next year, but I can’t talk about that right now.

Finally, I’d like to thank all the readers of this blog for sticking with us and for all of your support over the last 18 months. We wouldn’t be doing this without you.

 

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Comments

  1. Gavin Noble  September 21, 2012

    First time I’ve disagreed with Sue. I like this story story a lot – I think the setting is good, the costumes are good and the acting – bar Adric is good. Add in some nice humour (an often missed commodity during Davison’s era) and I think this is a little gem. Each to their own though. Enjoyed the blog as always though despite my disagreement with the overall view!

    • DPC  September 21, 2012

      Adric rarely fared well in Davison’s era, but I find it interesting how the debunked meme about Matthew Waterhouse and JNT gets brought back up… (ditto for the pajama comments… seems a trifle forced…)

      Sue can thankfully tell directors’ styles instantly – and there’s more from The Other Moff(tm) to come … the direction is a bit bland and uninspired, I can’t argue that…

      She praises the actor playing Richard Mace, yet “three berks” includes Peter Davison in with the others Mace is standing next to…

      Her line about the glitterbot not being taken seriously raised an eyebrow as well… not that she’s wrong, as it does look like a walking token dispenser at a casino, (Tereleptils do have a love of appearance, their own visages are multicolored, and the android being similarly multicolored works – for the mindset of a Tereleptil. )

      The story has moments of immense sloppiness (e.g. Nyssa worried over historians and archaeologists finding power packs yet having nary a concern over the huge honkin’ spaceship that’s near where Terminal I will be built…

      I personally rate the story a 7 as it has a lot of nice moments that work well – in both writing and acting departments. And especially for the demise of the rotten sonic screwdriver… But the gaffes do drag it down.

  2. Ian  September 21, 2012

    I loved this story when I was 11, remember thinking the tereleptils looked fantastic. Re-atching it as an adult even nostalgia doesn’t save it. Sadly there’s barely a handful of stories from the next half dozen years I can sit through at all now, will be interested to see what Sue makes of them!

  3. Matthew C  September 21, 2012

    I’m so glad Sue hated that. Definitely my least favorite story of the 80s. All that running around had me so bored.

  4. Ruuf Tyles  September 21, 2012

    Sue is getting funnier, I’m sure of it. Going from amused chuckles to regular laughs out loud. Poor Adric.

    The book sounds really exciting by the way, congratulations, I definitely intend to lay my grubby paws on a copy.

  5. matt bartley  September 21, 2012

    Sometimes the write up is so good, so painfully cutting, that it makes you want to watch the story right away.

    This is one of those write ups.

    And I think there’s some pretty funny dialogue in this one as well.

  6. Carson  September 21, 2012

    So, Adric’s actually given Gary something to appreciate! *hf Matthew* That was an unexpected surprise ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Wholahoop  September 21, 2012

    Eddie Royal was stabbed by Nick Cotton wasn’t he? I’d rather comment on that than The Visitation

  8. Al  September 21, 2012

    That’s the best ‘And Finally’ ever. Hearty congrats.

  9. Trevor Tidwell  September 21, 2012

    Typo?

    Me: Is the actor under that mask the guy from EastEnders you were talking about?

    Sue: Yes, and itโ€™s worth 100 points if you get it.

    • Neil Perryman  September 21, 2012

      Yes, thanks. I’ve fixed it. You’ll be pleased to know that the book will have an editor ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Antti Bjรถrklund  September 21, 2012

    Not wanting to spoil anything, but I have to say the next story is one of my favorites. I do like a good historical story.

  11. Lewis Christian  September 21, 2012

    Aw, I recall quite liking this. I wonder if Sue will even notice the lack of the Sonic Screwdriver later on. The book sounds great too. Good luck, Neil, and enjoy writing it! I’ll definitely be putting in for a pre-order at some point. And plans for Jan-August next year you say? Oooh.

    • Dave Sanders  September 21, 2012

      Between the end of January and the start of August is six full months, or 26 weeks. Exactly the right length of time for two episodes of Blake’s 7 a week. Hmmmmmmmmmm……. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. BWT  September 21, 2012

    Although I’ve always secretly liked this story, I have to agree with Sue. Richard Mace is one of the best companions the Doctor never had and is the best thing in it by some considerable margin.

    I love the thought of everyone being menaced by Alvin Stardust the Glitterbot. Carol Vorderman in a wig, Nyssa and a vibrator in her bedroom, Adric feel something a bit stiff – this could have been so much better. And why was that that Terrileptil wearing a brown G-string? Ermmm… because all the black leather ones were in wash (either that or he’d just shit himself).

    And, yes, Peter Moffatt’s direction *is* shit. Richard Mace deserved so much more…

    • Dave Sanders  September 21, 2012

      Does anyone else remember the *original* Tachyon TV commentary podcasts for The Five Doctors, directed by Peter Moffat? I forsee a repeat outing before very long.

  13. Marty  September 21, 2012

    I have never noticed any of the sexual tension of other things to do with Adric. I’ve never really paid all that much attention to the little maths genius at all really (except the Earthshock DVD commentary which is I think the funniest of them).

    Nice to hear Gary’s thoughts on Adric, even if it is for one episode, I’m sure he’d have enjoyed Full Circle more.

    Thinking on costumes, they’re all in the same clothes since Logopolis, which seems really weird, especially if you contrast to the new series where Amy and Rory obviously have a wardrobe of TARDIS adventuring practical clothing.
    None of this TARDIS teams’ clothing is practical for adventuring in time and space, and Tegan’s wardrobe will go from bad to totally impractical.

    I have never noticed the camera angles or shot sizes, it’s just not something I think about when watching classic Doctor Who, except maybe in the 1960s stories where it’s amazing when they do anything that isn’t a medium-close up or a long shot.

    I agree with Sue there is a lot of nice wood in this story, nice use of locations. Have you shown her that book that details the production and has behind the scenes photos (the name of the book currently escapes me) but it’s fairly thin and there were several copies in the media section of my university for some reason (alongside The Unfolding Text).

    Neil you know that this is the screwdriver’s last appearance for a very long time, but Sue and indeed the viewers originally wouldn’t, so it’s kinda interesting of her shrug of the shoulders at its destruction.

    • Korv  September 21, 2012

      ‘A Day in the Life of a TV Producer’?

      As for the sonic, I suspect you are right that it’s destruction probably had a fairly meh reaction from the viewing public. On the other hand, I suspect Sue’s view that the Doctor can easily get another one is influenced by Smith and Jones/The Eleventh Hour, texts which the original viewers of the Visitation would have had limited and speculative access to.

      • DPC  September 21, 2012

        “the sonic”?

        As in the famous video game hedgehog that gave the great gift of ADHD to children everywhere? ๐Ÿ™‚

      • John G  September 21, 2012

        Yes, it would be interesting to know if any fans at the time were upset by its destruction. Compared to the new series, the sonic wasn’t actually used all that often in the classic show, and I wonder if its presence was especially missed by long-term fans as the 80s wore on.

    • Terry Francis  September 21, 2012

      The book you are referring to is “Doctor Who: The Making of a Television Series” by Alan Road.

      • Marty  September 22, 2012

        Ah! That’s right, with Peter Davison on the cover and a little too much light/flash reflecting in the TARDIS’s windows.

    • DPC  September 21, 2012

      Especially with the modern series… The TARDIS now dispenses screwdrivers out like candy…

      As for the wardrobe, nobody ever complained because the Doctor never changed outfits (unless it was post-regeneration… typically… only Docs 2, 3, 10, and 11…)

      Martha never changed clothes, and at least pajamas allow clothing to breathe. That red leather top Martha had must have really had a bouquet by the time she left the Doctor… ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Gavin Noble  September 22, 2012

        You need to go back and watch the episodes with Martha again a little bit closer.

  14. Jane  September 21, 2012

    I love Sue’s eye for shoddy direction! 3 points is generous for this dreck.

  15. Lewis Christian  September 21, 2012

    It’s weird to think we’re 1/5th through the Fifth Doctor already.

    And then consider we have a few 2-parters in the mix. It’s quite a brief era, really.

  16. Korv  September 21, 2012

    That scene where Sue says ‘all bets are off’ – that’s a great scene, really well acted and – yes – the only scene in the story where Moffat exceeds himself and enhances the tension of the scene with his choices. Probably the dramatic highlight of the story. ISTR Davison on the commentary saying rehearsal was intensive on that scene, and complaining that it doesn’t show on screen on account of Melia being in a mask. I disagree, I think it does show. The actor’s timing and the camera work gel beautifully.

    The other thing I like about the story is when the Doctor says “that’s hardly an argument”and the Terreliptil replies, rather angrily, “It’s not supposed to be an argument, it’s a STATEMENT”. I just find that really funny a Dr Who monster coming out with a line like that.

    Otherwise it’s bland and the dialogue is appalling (the story, not he blog post). It’s not a bad effort to do something traditional yet a bit different, but hiring the writer as script editor is madness based on this script.

    • Dave Sanders  September 21, 2012

      You mean THIS IS MADNESS, Eric Saward’s favourite line ever.

    • William  September 21, 2012

      “It’s a STATEMENT!” is the best line in the story, hands down, though the Terileptil leader gets some other good lines. Agree about Moffatt’s direction. And they kept him on for ages and let him do The Five Doctors!

      • DPC  September 21, 2012

        Seconded!

        The other gem was when the Doctor uses the tereleptil love of war against them. The tereleptil observes how humans love to kill each other… What did the Doc say in return, “by your standards these humans are primitive. What’s your excuse?” It’s a line I can fathom two subsequent Doctors speaking, though they never got a chance for such zinger-loaded dialogue… ๐Ÿ™

        Great stuff in a story that really is a mixed bag…

  17. Gavin Noble  September 21, 2012

    And yet another good trail for next time from Glen!

  18. Terry Francis  September 21, 2012

    I’ve always loved this one, but do – of course – respect Sue’s verdict, Probably best not to mention Janet Fielding’s current condition to Sue – don’t want the sad news to sway her judgment on Tegan in any way.

    On a sidenote, be nice if a future special edition of this story could include the original Richard Mace radio plays as extras!

    • Ruuf Tyles  September 21, 2012

      I hadn’t heard that about Janet before now – very sad indeed, I hope she’ll be okay.

      • Jazza1971  September 21, 2012

        That is depressing. I wasn’t aware of that until now.

    • DPC  September 21, 2012

      Hadn’t any idea of that – a quick search revealed what it’s about.

      Yipes…

  19. Wholahoop  September 21, 2012

    Much as I am looking forward to the book, if you don’t mind I will wait for the movie. Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Fuchsia Begonia  September 21, 2012

    Aww, poor Visitation!

    Yes, it is a bit pants, but I still have a soft spot for it, just as I do for Black Orchid.

    Cracking advertisement for next week’s instalment too, old chap – positively spiffing!

  21. Warren Andrews  September 21, 2012

    Four episodes in a search of a plot. It should be amazing but I never come away from it feeling anything other than extreme disappointment. Good for Sue picking up on how awful the direction. The script is very weak but a decent director might have won half the battle.

  22. Broadshoulder2  September 21, 2012

    Never ,mind Frontier in Space – if you want endless locking up in prison look no further then this one. What gets me is for a historical there is almost no history to it just alot of running around and falling over in the woods. The commentary improves this one immesurably

    • Warren Andrews  September 21, 2012

      Yeah, I’m sure Sue would enjoy the commentary, it’s the only reason that I’ve returned to this story so often. Davison even points out the issue with the scythe execution.

    • Frankymole  September 22, 2012

      There’s a lot more history here than there is in the next “pure historical”!

  23. Subtly-Suggestive Sue  September 21, 2012

    I always remember squirming at the climactic scene in the barn in Part 4 because my mum was watching it.
    She noticed the ‘quality’ of Davison’s agonised acting and commented accordingly, with a few choice comments of the ‘Oh my God!’ variety.
    Incidentally, this Gary guy : he wouldn’t by any chance be a homosexual would he?
    Just a hunch, like.

  24. Paul Greaves  September 21, 2012

    Aw. That’s a shame. I have very fond memories of this story from being an impressionable 8 year old. I loved it then and I still really enjoy it now. I agree completely that Peter Moffatt’s direction is bland but Sue better get used to it… The script is a solid pseudo-historical, Michael Melia does wonders with the Terileptil given the costume and his exchanges with the Doctor are always a highlight. Nyssa and the Doctor’s relationship is good but Tegan and Adric are both stroppy nightmares. I love the location work and the set design is all pretty good too. It’s an 8/10 for me (he said, ducking to avoid the sarcastic responses)

  25. encyclops  September 21, 2012

    I have a soft spot for this entire season, except for its conclusion, about which I can’t think of a single good thing to say (but we’ll get there). I actually really like the android’s Death getup, hitting just the right balance of creepy and stylish, and I think its Starlight Express appearance is at least creative. Unfortunately it’s impossible to imagine the Terileptils working in mines; do they use those little flappy arms? It would be like Grimace doing a Warrior Dash. I don’t mind watching this, but 3/10 is quite fair.

    So many great quips! “A beautiful piece of wood” is the tops, but I also love the idea of Adric going under the console for a Twix…or whatever.

    I would happily have bought a book of the blog, but the news that it’s all new stuff is even better. I’ll hold off a bit on the preorder until I know what the international situation is going to be, but I’ll be getting it for sure.

  26. Paul Mudie  September 21, 2012

    Oh dear, I’m sorry Sue didn’t enjoy this one because it’s one of my favourite Davisons. I suppose there’s nothing especially wonderful or original about it, but I just think it’s a good, solid Doctor Who story with a lovely period setting and some pretty decent monsters. I can’t say I’ve ever noticed anything particularly wrong with the direction, but I’ll certainly be looking out for that, next time I watch it.

    As for the book, I’m quite pleased to hear that it’ll be a companion to the blog rather than a blog compendium, because after all – if I want to read the blog, I can just read the blog! ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. chris-too-old-too-watch  September 21, 2012

    Quite right Sue: probably one of the most over-rated stories ever.

    By-the-way, quite liking the new “Carry On Advenetures with The Wife in Space”, particularly the amount of time spent on Adric’s trousers (Oh I like the wood) and Nyssa’s Vibrator (Oooh Matron). All we need is apun on how the TARDIS is bigger on the inside than the outside (Cue Kenneth Williams) and we’d be well away.

    • Neil Perryman  September 21, 2012

      I know. I don’t know what’s got into her. She hasn’t even been reading Shades of Grey.

  28. Mike  September 21, 2012

    Great news about the book but for those of us who don’t like to put all our eggs in one retailer’s basket, so to speak, will there be an ePub version as well?

  29. Richard Lyth  September 21, 2012

    The dullest stories always make for the best blog posts – Sue gets more entertaining the more pissed off she is. I suspect this may continue for the next few stories as well. Gary was good value too – you should bring him back for Time-Flight…

    Great news about the book. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy!

  30. dlee  September 21, 2012

    “I love the historical stories, you know where you are with them straight away.”

    Why did you give the Massacre such a lousy score, then? I stilll haven’t forgiven you for that, my dear… :-p

  31. Ryan Hall  September 21, 2012

    As for the destrution of the sonic screwdriver , i dont think i noticed or was even that botherd to be honest as a kid ……they should do it now, its praticly used as a magic wand….

    and marvelous news about the book, hurrah.

    • Frankymole  September 22, 2012

      Get rid of the psychic paper first. Worst get-out ever.

      • chris-too-old-too-watch  September 22, 2012

        At least it avoids all those interminable capture/imprisonment/escape that seem to dodge the classic series

        • Frankymole  September 22, 2012

          Yes, ‘cos imprisonment has no validity in a plot (like allowing expolanations to occur – much missed in Matt’s last season). “Porridge” was of course a witless, wasted sitcom – and you won’t be buying “Mind of Evil”, the entire thing’s about a prison!! ๐Ÿ˜€ 9_9

          • chris-too-old-too-watch  September 23, 2012

            I was refering to the inevitable imprisonments that would take place at the start of every story when the Doctor arrived in a new place, which did nothing to forward the plot.

  32. James  September 21, 2012

    It’s sad that she didn’t like the story, but so good to see she’d finally learned how to hate Adric. Now if only she’d start liking Nyssa. :p

  33. dlee  September 21, 2012

    So this Peter Moffatt chap who directs isn’t Peter Davison going by his real nme then? I thiught it might have been at first.

    • John G  September 21, 2012

      The irony is that Davison changed his name to avoid confusion with the director…

      • Warren Andrews  September 21, 2012

        Davison’s surname is Moffett rather than Moffatt.

        • John G  September 21, 2012

          Indeed it is, but he was still worried about confusion.

  34. Jazza1971  September 21, 2012

    For starters, can everybody stop using the word “bland” as an adjective. For people like me, my great Uncle Robin and Auntie June it isn’t a descriptive term but a surname! Just so you know, every time one of you uses it as an adjective I am showing you the Makaton sign for “toilet”. That’ll teach you!

    Anyway, back to the review. For me this was one of the best ever. I totally disagree with Sue’s score. For me this is an 8. I love this story. But honestly, this is one of the best reviews yet. Episodes 3-4 had me laughing a lot. And the comment of the review has to be:-

    “Sue: So what? Nyssa can knock him up another one in a couple of hours. I donโ€™t see what the big deal is. Itโ€™s not as if he doesnโ€™t get himself a new one. Get some perspective, Neil.”

    As for the book, I am very pleased that it is going to be a companion piece. I was going to buy any book anyway, even if it was simply a collection of all that I have read so far, but for it to be something new is excellent. And it will be on Kindle, even better!

    Just a thought, but I would happily buy a Kindle compilation of the blog when the time comes. It’s the kind of thing the Kindle (other e-readers are available) is made for.

    And Greg’s “Next Time” is the best yet! ๐Ÿ˜€

  35. Glen Allen  September 21, 2012

    The Visitaion On The Buses is quite a mixed one for me. (I nearly went down the OTB road for the trail but decided against it)
    I didnt rate it at all on first viewing. I thought the Tereleptils were another bad alien rubber costume, the sparkly android too camp and Adric was really p*ssing me off by this time.
    I quite enjoy it now despite the bland direction which, because I wasnt aware of direction when I first saw it, still doesnt bother me.
    Im not actually sure WHY I enjoy it but I do…although having said that. I took a load of WHO DVDs to Entertainment exchange today to have a clearout…and this was one of them ๐Ÿ™‚
    Maybe my subconscious is channelling Sue

    • Jazza1971  September 21, 2012

      Greg, if I may call you that, I am currently showing you the Makaton sign for “toilet”. Just saying…

    • Frankymole  September 22, 2012

      As to Terileptils and their costumes, I liked how we finally had an alien race evolved from fish. Aside from the Hath, and a hint of calamari in the Ood, we’ve never really seen that before or since.

      • encyclops  September 22, 2012

        The Zygons? Some sort of mimic octopus / electric eel analogue?

      • chris-too-old-too-watch  September 22, 2012

        But they’ve got legs, hands and fins, which makes no sense. Obviously based on Enki, Summerian god of the sea.

        • Frankymole  September 22, 2012

          Humans have little or no body hair, which makes no sense for mammals (unless we lived in the water) – oh, and vestigial gills and webbed extremities in our embryo form (which Zygons were based on).

          • chris-too-old-too-watch  September 23, 2012

            Humans have vestigial body hair all over.

          • Nick Mays  September 23, 2012

            Agreed Franky. It’s been a theory for some time now that at some point in human evolution we had an aquatic phase, which explains the direction our bodily hair grows. Desmond Morris gives quite a lot of space toi this theory in his seminal work ‘The Human Animal’.

            I’d always thought the Tereleptils were a kind of evolved amphibian, as they had gills as well as some sort of lung structure (think tadpoles and frogs/newts). It’s a shame that they never figured further in the series, as they were a very interesting race with the potential for further exploration.

          • John G  September 23, 2012

            Humans and all other mammals are of course descended from fish.

          • Andrew Bowman  September 23, 2012

            Interestingly, “fish” as a species doesn’t actually exist, so to say we descended from them is inaccurate. In fact, it’s inaccurate in the same way as to suggest we all evolved from monkeys, which is nonsense frankly. No one, not even Darwin, has ever seriously suggested that we ever did such a thing. We share a common ancestor with them, but we certainly never evolved from them. Equally, the fish-like creatures that our genetic ancestors evolved from bear very little, if any, resemblance to the common or garden cod, salmon, pike, shark etc. If you want to take the concept even further, every living thing shares a common ancestor, as we all started as amoeba. But that’s taking the point too far ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. John G  September 21, 2012

    “Does anyone have a lute so we can play the theme to EastEnders over this?”

    Classic, though Neil’s “I hope he doesnโ€™t stick his fist up Adricโ€™s arse by mistake,” runs it close! Both of you are really on good form at the moment – keep this going, and the Time-Flight post might rival or surpass the DVD commentary (my personal favourite of the commentaries) for laugh-out-loud hilarity.

    I’m in the pro-Visitation camp myself. Yes, the plot is thin and there is some very clunky dialogue, but it is an easy watch and looks great. I look on it as Doctor Who’s equivalent of comfort food, a cosy, undemanding treat, and I suspect at the time a lot of people were glad of it after the complexities of the previous story. It’s also fun to see a more acerbic fifth Doctor here than normal, something that was no doubt a consequence of this story being recorded second, and his characterisation therefore still not being firmly settled. Glad Sue liked Richard Mace and the design work anyway, and I think Michael Melia deserves a lot of praise for making the Chief Terileptil so convincing a villain. She ought to give the Doctor a break though – he may have started the Great Fire, but he has just saved humanity (again).

    It’s funny to think in retrospect that Eric Saward started his Who career with such a traditional, “safe” story, given the subsequent direction in which he would steer the show. Something even more traditional up next though – I wonder if Sue is a fan of 1920s country house murder mysteries…

    • John G  September 21, 2012

      By the way, congratulations on the book deal. It should make an intriguing companion to the blog…

    • DPC  September 21, 2012

      Eric’s novelization of his story is far more graphic than what was televised… ๐Ÿ™‚

  37. Jazza1971  September 21, 2012

    A general query here. I have signed up for e-mail notifications whenever a reply is posted to a thread on which I have replied on. Every time I do this I get an e-mail asking me to confirm that I wish to follow the current discussion. I click on the link and it tells me that my subscription has been activated.

    This worked fine until “Kinda” and since then it has stopped working. I still get the e-mail asking me to confirm I am following the thread, but I no longer get notified of replies.

    Is it still working for others? Is there anything I can do to get it working again?

    • encyclops  September 22, 2012

      It’s broken for me too, so it’s not just you.

  38. Simon Harries  September 21, 2012

    Surprised that Sue didn’t recognise John Savident at the start, or Gary, seeing as Fred The Butcher was such a long-running character. But then, Sue’s never really watched Coro has she?

    • chris-too-old-too-watch  September 22, 2012

      CORRIE

  39. Paul Mc Elvaney  September 21, 2012

    This story was another one I first saw from those random dvds in my local library. It didn’t make much of an impression on me, although I remember being rather charmed by Davison’s breathless enthusiasm. He really can breathe some life into these iffy scripts. Also, congratulations on the book deal, Neil, I wish you all the success, you certainly deserve it.

  40. Frankymole  September 22, 2012

    “Chicken of beef? Tea or coffee?”? I don’t get it – seems a bit of a non sequitur, can anyone explain it to me?

    • encyclops  September 22, 2012

      These are questions an air hostess might ask on an airplane.

  41. Ritch Famous  September 22, 2012

    I think I’ll put the book on my christmas list for 2013!

  42. P.Sanders  September 22, 2012

    I vividly remember parts of The Visitation from when I was a nipper, but I admit there isn’t much to it. I think it’s popular because it’s very traditional Who, plus the Pudding Lane final twist. Odd to think Saward got his SE job on the strength of this. Talking of which, Tegan’s line to Nyssa about the events in Kinda is among the clunkiest exposition ever written in Who – part of the soapy recap element that JNT pushed for in the Davison era. As a kid I loved it but it just adds to the stagey feel of those scenes.

    • Dave Sanders  September 22, 2012

      Padding Lane, more like.

      • Frankymole  September 22, 2012

        Didn’t Saward also get the SE job on the strength of his radio play writing? (Even if his Richard Mace there is a detective set several centuries later!)

        Anthony Root’s work doesn’t get much rated, but from what’s been said about his script-edited stories this season, Saward can only be an improvement… at least he had the sense to recognise that old (pre-JNT era) writers still had something to give.

  43. Christopher Pittard  September 22, 2012

    To me, *The Visitation* will always be the story with the dullest Target novelisation cover of them all. And that’s about it, really.

  44. solar penguin  September 22, 2012

    Question for Neil — Slightly Off Topic

    Will you be doing “Downtime”, now that “Power of Three” has implied it’s canon?

  45. Jay  September 23, 2012

    You all inspired me to watch Four To Doomsday and since then I’ve been on a Five run…..as you know it’s certainly not all pretty. This one made me double over with laughter last night. Also, to second a comment made earlier, the dvd commentaries are comedy gold, the one for Black Orchid I played this afternoon probably has the crown so far.

    • Jay  September 23, 2012

      And no, I couldn’t wait and skipped ahead to Earthshock.

  46. Nick Mays  September 23, 2012

    Ouch! Harsh judgment, but Sue’s right about the direction. – very flat and uninspiring. Funny thing is, when Season 19 aired, I was 19/20 years old and found ‘Kinda’ “interesting” but rather stage-y, whilst I LOVED ‘The Visitation’, probably because that period of English history appeals to me greatly, although even back then I wondered where Mace had appeared in theatre during the Commonwealth ban on plays, then the theatres being closed due to plague etc. I also thought Tegan was written as unnecessarily argumentative and stroppy. “It’s a TIME MACHINE, you dozy bint! You can go back to Heathrow bloody airport in 1981 anytime you like! Enjoy it for flip’s sake!”

    Watching them both again 30-odd years later I found ‘Kinda’ to have a great deal more depth and hidden meaning (and some great acting by Janet Fielding), whilst ‘The Visitation’ was a pretty standard (but pretty looking) pseudo-historical romp. The Terreleptil costume still holds up well though (G-String notwithstanding), as does the sparkling dialogue between the Terreleptil leader and the Doctor. Personally, I’d give ‘The Visitation’ 6/10, KInda would get 7/10.

    Perhaps (shock, horror!) J N-T WAS right – the memory DOES cheat!

  47. DamonD  September 24, 2012

    I quite like The Visitation, but it’s definitely pretty flatly directed and clunky in a lot of ways. Maybe it’s a bit comfort food-y.

    I genuinely like the ‘it’s a statement!’ exchange. It puts the Terrileptil over as someone dead set on carrying out his plan simply because he wants to and believes it’s right, and he doesn’t have any more interest in standing around and nicely debating the social merits of it.

    Congrats again on the book deal!

  48. Robert Dick  October 2, 2012

    The audiobook of Matthew Waterhouse reading the Target novelisation of this has just arrived. Hurrah.