We have a visitor. Plus: exciting book news!
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?
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.
Sue: 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.
Gary: 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… OK, 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. Hmmmm… 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.
Sitting 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 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:
Mace: 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…top
The 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.
Sue: 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. OK, I can do this… Hmmm… is it Dr Legg?
Sue: Pete Beale?
Sue: How am I supposed to guess this? It’s impossible! OK, 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.
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.
Adric 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.top
As 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.
Sue: 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.
Sue: **** me! A close-up! A brief, fleeting close-up. Give the director a medal.
Adric and Nyssa continue to bicker in the TARDIS.
Sue: 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.
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.top
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.
Sue: 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? OK, 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.
The 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.
As 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: OK, so the Doctor started a huge fire and he ****ed with the time line as well. Well that’s just great, isn’t it?top
The Final 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.
The experiment continues…
Next update due: Sunday 23rd September.
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.
The book will also include interviews with the experiment’s key participants (including Gary and Nicol), exclusive episode commentaries, and lots more exciting features that I’m still coming up with. In fact, if you have a suggestion for something you’d like to see included in this book, please drop me a line and I’ll see if I can oblige.
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.
If you don’t own this story, why not buy it on DVD? If you use the link below, we get a small cut, which will help pay for the site’s running costs. Many thanks for your support (UK residents only).