For the first time since The Three Doctors, Sue’s older brother, Gary, agreed to join us for an episode or two.
Sue: It’s 1982, Gary. How old would you have been?
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: Ahh, 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 stares out of a window at a pair of falling stars which 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.
Sue: Who directed this? We’ve been looking at the same boring shot for ages. I wouldn’t mind if it was a good three-shot, but it isn’t. Look at that composition, Neil, it’s terrible.
Something bronchial is moving up the cellar’s 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 both howl with laughter.
Gary: It’s a gay Iron Man!
Meanwhile, on the TARDIS, Adric is doing what he does best – annoying everyone around him.
Gary: He’s a 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.
Tegan talks to Nyssa about her recent experience with the Mara.
Gary: I thought you said this was the first episode. I don’t know what they’re going on about here. What have I missed?
Sue: Well, Gary, let’s see… Okay, so Tegan basically got taken over by a snake last week. It was very symbolic and Buddhist and stuff like that.
Gary: Tegan? You named your cat after an Australian air hostess?
Sue: Don’t look at me. Blame Neil!
Tegan desperately wants to return to Heathrow airport.
Sue: Why the rush? Could somebody please explain to Tegan how time travel works? I’m sure Adric has nothing better to do.
Gary: (As Tegan, if Tegan were Welsh) Chicken or beef? Tea or coffee?
Sue: Time or space?
Tegan admits she hasn’t always been the best of companions.
Sue: That’s an understatement, love. I really hope she makes her plane, because she’s stressing me out.
Sadly, the TARDIS has arrived on Earth 300 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, Sue. I am still here, you know.
Adric runs away and ends up flat on his face.
Sue: He can’t even fall over properly. That was terrible. Shall we do a re-take, do you think? Nah, that’ll do!
Meanwhile, the thespian Richard Mace is sitting in a tree, A-C-T-I-N-G.
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!
You know, 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.
Mace tells the Doctor about the strange lights in the sky.
Sue: He sounds like Russell Crowe. It’s uncanny.
The 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’s Carol Vorderman in a wig.
Me: She’s as clever as Carol Vorderman.
Sue: She’s almost as annoying as Carol Vorderman.
The Doctor discovers the staircase leading to the cellar has been bricked up.
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, there. Anyway, as the Doctor tries to work out the significance of the wall, an android arrives.
Gary: Oh dear. Alvin Stardust 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 is gone. Who knows if he’ll ever visit us again?
When the Doctor walks through the wall as if it doesn’t exist, Nyssa is overjoyed to see him again.
Sue: Yes, thank heavens you’ve been killed and are now a ghost. That will be really helpful.
The Doctor can detect the unmistakable aroma of soliton gas.
Sue: You can’t blame Adric this time.
And that’s when Mace decides to get pissed.
Sue: I love this guy. He has all the best lines. He’s the only interesting thing in this story so far.
The android appears once again, but this time it’s dressed in a black cape and skeleton mask.
Sue: I was only joking when I said it was Michael Myers. But it really is.
Tegan is shot and the Doctor runs away.
Sue: WHAT? The direction in that scene was abysmal. I think that may have been the worst directed action scene in the whole series so far.
When we encounter a Terileptil for the first time, Sue sighs.
Sue: Is the actor under that mask the guy from EastEnders you were talking about earlier?
Me: Yes, and it’s worth 100 points if you can get it.
Sue: Typical. Okay, I can do this… Is it Dr Legg?
Sue: Pete Beale?
Sue: How am I supposed to get this? It’s impossible! Is it Nasty Nick?
Sue: Well in that case, I give up.
Me: 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.
Me: Eddie Royle.
Sue: Never heard of him.
Me: He was killed.
Sue: That doesn’t help.
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.
As we hurtle towards 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 usual companions are.
The Terileptil leader controls 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.
When Adric tries to open a window, he complains it’s too stiff.
Sue: Stick your hands in your pockets, pet, then 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 your script editor is an idiot doesn’t make it any better, you know. God, this is tedious.
As the executioner prepares to bring his scythe down on the Doctor’s exposed neck, Sue spots a fatal flaw.
Sue: It’s impossible to execute someone like that. The tip 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 backwards motion. The idiots.
It’s all 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? This is just blokes milling around like they’re sharing a cramped stage together. It’s embarrassing.
It turns out the Terileptil leader was tortured and scarred during his stay at the tinclavic mines on Raaga.
Sue: I think the mould went wrong and they had to write that 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 well, and I like the way the nose and 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 the album Trespass. And what is she doing with that hostess trolley? Ooh, that’s a nice bedspread…
Nyssa returns to the console room.
Sue: What 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 discovers there’s more than one Terileptil on planet Earth.
Sue: The one on the left is definitely pleased about something. Look at his insane grin!
Adric is supposed to be keeping his eye out for trouble, but when some villagers 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?
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. The TARDIS has plenty.
The Doctor offers to help the Terileptils settle on another planet, but their leader doesn’t want to negotiate with him.
Sue: He wants the moon on a stick. The Doctor gave him a chance, and now he’ll have to take him down. All bets are off.
Sue: **** me! A close-up! A brief, fleeting close-up! Give the director a medal.
Meanwhile, Adric and Nyssa are still bickering in the TARDIS.
Sue: Sexual tension!
Nyssa doesn’t understand why Adric won’t listen to her.
Sue: It’s because he’s a twat with raging hormones, Nyssa. Give him 10 years and 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, Neil, he just looked straight down the camera lens. What a pillock.
The Doctor can’t reconcile the Terieptils’ love of art and beauty with their thirst for genocide.
Sue: If that robot is their idea of art, then God help them.
The Doctor is imprisoned in another cell.
Sue: Not again! How many times is that now? Still, at least there’s plenty of wood for me to admire, I suppose.
The Terileptil destroys the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver, and when Sue doesn’t react, I pause the DVD.
Sue: Well what?
Me: He just destroyed the sonic screwdriver!
Sue: So what? Nyssa can knock 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 a new one eventually. Get some perspective, Neil.
The episode concludes with a brainwashed Tegan about to release some plague rats into the room.
Sue: 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.
Sue: 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’re having a laugh!
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. And then, a little later, he uses the very same pin to short-circuit an electronic lock.
Sue: Is this the replacement for his sonic screwdriver? A safety pin? Handy for the kids, I suppose, but very difficult for the BBC to market.
Nyssa notices Adric approaching the TARDIS on the scanner and she rushes outside to greet him.
Sue: She’s sending mixed signals. One minute she’s bickering with him, the next she wants to give him a big hug.
But wait! The android is hiding behind the TARDIS! Nyssa races inside as Adric tries to kick it to death with his Wellington boots. However, his efforts are in vain and the android enters the ship.
Sue: Nyssa left the bloody doors open AGAIN!
The android dispenses with its disguise.
Sue: It isn’t so scary when it looks like a prop from Starlight Express.
Nyssa shakes it to death with her homemade sonic booster.
Sue: So Nyssa was making a huge vibrator in her bedroom? Okay, fair enough. I can believe that.
Nyssa is sad to see such a magnificent machine go up in smoke.
Sue: Don’t worry, they’ll be other vibrators, chick.
And then Adric pilots the TARDIS, managing to land it on a sixpence, right next to the Doctor.
The Doctor searches for the Terileptils’ hidden base with maps of old London town.
Sue: I wish I had a lute so I could play the theme to EastEnders over this.
The Terileptil meets 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 makes it look like a brothel.
Adric becomes distracted by one of his inexplicable erections and topples into some boxes – there’s no other explanation for it, sadly. And then 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.
As the place burns to the ground, the Doctor ushers his companions out of the door.
Sue: When he pushed Adric outside just then, he did it with such venom. He really doesn’t like him very much.
The Doctor leaves Mace to clear up the mess. It is only a small fire, after all.
Sue: He always leaves the wrong person behind. It’s becoming a habit.
But he leaves him with a souvenir – part of the control panel from the Terileptil base.
Sue: Okay, so the Doctor started a huge fire and ****ed with the laws of time. Well that’s just great, isn’t it?
Sue: That was crap. The only redeeming features were the wood, the bloke from On the Buses and Peter Davison. Everything else – especially the direction – was dreadful. There was nothing to it. Bland, boring, bollocks.
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 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.