Sue: Has Johnny Byrne written for Doctor Who before?
Me: Yes, The Keeper of Traken.
Sue: Shit. Oh well, I’m still looking forward to seeing the Doctor on his own for a change.
Me: What about Nyssa?
Sue: Oh yeah, I forgot about her.
The story begins on Gallifrey. Sue recognises the collar straight away.
Sue: Ooh, a Time Lord.
This particular Time Lord is conversing with a very mysterious figure.
Sue: Am I supposed to know who that is?
Me: Sort of.
Sue: Is it the Master? Is he wearing another disguise? Why does he go to so much trouble? I don’t get it.
Elsewhere, two men are talking about bio-data extracts.
Me: Do you know where we are?
Sue: Yes, we’re on Gallifrey. I know we’re on Gallifrey because that guy on the left is dressed in my mam’s curtains.
Meanwhile, the Doctor and Nyssa are spending a pleasant Sunday afternoon doing a spot of DIY in the TARDIS.
Sue: He could have given his round thing a good dust before he put it back in again. Has he no pride?
The next thing we know, we’re in Holland.
Sue: Hey, it’s Amsterdam! I recognise that clock! And that bridge! I remember the police breaking up a fight there. Actually, while we’re on the subject, don’t include any of our Amsterdam stories on the blog.
Me: Not even the one where you accidentally gave your boss magic mushrooms at a conference and –
Sue: STOP IT!
Me: Are you impressed that they’ve gone abroad again?
Sue: Yes. New York on Saturday and now this. It’s great. It really opens everything out. I guess this must be their Paris?
Me: I guess so.
Sue: Will we see the Doctor and Nyssa falling head over heels in love as they run through the streets of Amsterdam?
I bite my tongue and say nothing.
It quickly becomes clear that Robin and Colin are tourists in the city of sin.
Colin: Oh, come on, let’s grab something to eat.
Sue: (As Robin) **** that, let’s get a huge spliff and a prostitute!
Sue isn’t impressed by the saucy boys’ acting.
Sue: The crew must have dragged them off the streets when they got there. They were probably wandering around the red light district in a daze. I refuse to believe that the BBC flew these two out to Amsterdam with them. They can’t act!
Back on Gallifrey, the mysterious figure is worried that his transmissions will be detected by the Time Lords.
Sue: Hey, don’t be so negative.
Oblivious to these shenanigans, Colin and Robin arrive at a deserted crypt.
Sue: This place should be full of hypodermic needles and used condoms. We’re supposed to be in Amsterdam!
The boys get ready for bed.
Sue: Are they lovers?
If they are, Colin is playing very hard to get.
Robin: Oh, come on! It’s only a pump house.
Sue: Is that a euphemism?
Later that night, a TARDIS materialises in the crypt. Its occupant isn’t what Sue was expecting:
Sue: **** me, it’s the Atomic Rooster!
Meanwhile, the Doctor is attacked by a mini-extradimensional-time-tornado that has invaded the TARDIS.
Sue: Anti-matter, eh? That can’t be good. Nicol should have watched this with us; she has some very strong opinions when it comes to anti-matter universes.
Robin searches for Colin but he comes face to face with Ergon the giant chicken instead. It fires its weapon but Robin manages to escape.
Sue: He just shot a weeping angel in the face!
Meanwhile, back on Gallifrey.
Sue: The music is dreadful. For the last time, WE ARE NOT IN MEDIEVAL TIMES! Get the bloke who did the music for Earthshock back. **** Zelda.
The High Council have convened to discuss the situation. Sue recognises Michael Gough as the man who played Batman’s butler, but that’s all. I decide not to bring up The Celestial Toymaker, just in case it spoils her mood.
And then Colin Baker turns up.
Sue: Did they cast him as the Doctor because of his performance in this story?
Me: No, they cast him as the Doctor because of his performance at a wedding reception.
Sue: That makes sense, you couldn’t play the Doctor like this.
Robin has been abandoned in Amsterdam.
Sue: He had better not be the new companion! I’m serious, Neil. He has a face you want to slap.
Robin returns to the crypt to find his friend working for the giant chicken. He has a vacant, zombified look on his face. Colin doesn’t look great, either.
Sue: He’s just having a whitey. Too many space cakes will do that to you. Quick, give him some orange juice.
Meanwhile, as the Doctor and Nyssa race through the corridors of Gallifrey, I remind Sue that the last time we were here, the Doctor left some companions behind.
I pause the DVD so Sue can access her memory banks.
Sue: Yeah, I remember now. So are they going to bring Leela and K9 back because the other companions are hopeless?
Commander Maxil (“What? Like the C90 tapes?”) appears to relish his job.
Sue: He isn’t very nice, is he?
Me: Colin was known for playing tough guys. He was in The Brothers, you know.
Sue: Was that on BBC? We were an ITV house so we probably didn’t watch it. I like his performance, though. It’s memorable.
The episode concludes with Maxil shooting the Doctor at point-blank range.
Sue: That was a fabulous cliffhanger and a very strong episode. There’s a lot going on. Hurry up and stick the next one on.
Before we began this episode, I placed our cushions out of Sue’s reach.
Sue: Does Colin ever put his hat on? Or does he have to carry it around with him the whole time?
Me: If he puts the hat on, he won’t get through the doors on the set.
Sue: Colin is very good in this.
An unconscious Doctor is carried back to his TARDIS.
Sue: Is this Nyssa’s bedroom?
Me: Yes, unless the Doctor is a cross-dresser on the quiet.
Sue: Hey! Nyssa does have other clothes she could wear!
Me: Do you really want her to run around in that butterfly costume again?
Sue: Anything’s preferable to that sweat magnet.
When we cut to Schiphol airport, I feel my buttocks clench.
Sue doesn’t recognise Janet Fielding at first. In fact, she stands a better chance of recognising Omega.
Sue: Wait a minute… Isn’t that…?
Robin: Excuse me. Tegan Jovanka?
She reaches for a cushion that isn’t there.
Sue: So Tegan is Colin’s cousin? Really?
Sue: So every relation she has ends up being killed by aliens! Why isn’t she being investigated for murder? ****ing hell, I can’t believe she’s back.
Me: It is a bit of a coincidence.
Sue: Maybe she’s stalking the Doctor? Or maybe the Master got to her in the last story and she’s been sent to kill the Doctor in this one? Yeah, that would make sense.
Yes, it would.
Sue: Her hair is so much better. That style really suits her.
Me: What about the boob tube?
Sue: You can’t blame her. We all wore boob tubes in the 1980s.
Me: Speak for yourself.
Sue: It’s not doing her any favours but it’s John Galliano compared to her purple outfit.
Tegan and Robin retire to a coffee shop to discuss their next move.
Robin: You’re not going to believe this.
Sue: Your eyes are the size of saucers! Of course she won’t believe you. She’ll think you are tripping your bollocks off. I wouldn’t believe a word he says, especially when he gets to the bit about the giant chicken.
Back on Gallifrey, Nyssa and Damon discuss the Doctor’s plight.
Sue: Is this scene taking place in a Gallifreyan wine bar?
Me: It always reminds me of an airport departure lounge.
The Doctor retires to Nyssa’s bedroom so he can examine the bio-data extract that Damon has given him.
Sue: Why are we in Nyssa’s bedroom again? Why can’t we see the Doctor’s bedroom? That’s the bedroom I really want to see.
Damon, Nyssa and the Doctor plan their next move but Maxil barges in on them. This gives Sue a fit of the giggles.
Sue: Rewind that bit. Look at the way Colin Baker comes through that door. He’s so arsey. I love him.
The Doctor is led away while Nyssa and Damon conspire some more.
Damon: Be careful and good luck.
Sue: (As Damon) Oh, and by the way, I love you. (As Sue) She is so going to stay on Gallifrey with him. He’s like a love-sick puppy when she’s around.
The High Council have assembled to oversee the Doctor’s execution.
Sue: Colin’s got his hat on, hip, hip, hip, hooray!
Maxil leads the Doctor to his death.
Sue: He can’t wait to take over the role, can he?
Nyssa intervenes but the Doctor talks her down.
Sue: Nyssa is so much better when she’s given something to do. She must be gutted that Tegan is coming back.
The Doctor surrenders to his fate.
Sue: Are they lightly steaming him to death?
The Doctor vanishes.
Sue: Not bad. But he isn’t dead. He’s been taken over by the bad guy. It’s obvious.
I point out to her that the character is credited as The Renegade.
Sue: Is he a Time Lord?
Sue: And I’ve seen him before?
Sue: And it’s not the Master?
Me: I’m not saying.
Sue: Is it The Monk?
Me: Wait and see.
Sue: Is it the Black Guardian?
Me: The Black Guardian isn’t a Time Lord.
Sue: Right. Yes. I knew that. Is is Romana?
Me: Okay, that’s enough. You’ll find out tomorrow.
Sue: The tension is killing me.
The Doctor is trapped in the Matrix, taunted by an enemy he doesn’t recognise.
Sue: Well, if the Doctor doesn’t know who he is, I don’t feel so bad.
It’s Peter Davison who Sue feels sorry for.
Sue: It must have been an embarrassing afternoon in the studio for him. All that hip thrusting. Backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards, back –
Me: Okay, that’ll do. We get the idea.
Tegan and Robin find Colin toiling away in the crypt.
Sue: For God’s sake, give him some vitamin C!
Omega dispatches his pet chicken to deal with the situation.
Sue: It’s definitely plucked – you can see its ribs. Who came up with this idea? And who decided to light it so brightly? They are insane. Why isn’t the cast laughing at it?
The Renegade confers with the Time Lord traitor once again.
Sue: What is that thing he keeps waving about? It’s really distracting me. What is it?
Me: I think it might be a pen.
Sue: You think? It could be a key-ring, I suppose. Or a tiny orchestra baton. Or maybe he’s been whittling some wood in his spare time? It must be important, whatever it is.
In the Matrix, the villain threatens to kill one of the Doctor’s companions if he doesn’t cooperate.
Sue: The Doctor wouldn’t fall for that. The chances of him bumping into Tegan must be a million to one.
Me: But still she comes.
The villain tortures the Doctor’s ex-companion; her cries are unmistakable.
Sue: The Doctor isn’t that bothered if you ask me.
We discover that Hedin is the traitor.
Sue: Batman’s butler did it! That’s a shock. I really wasn’t expecting that. He’s been really nice up to now.
The President is so appalled, he stumbles over his lines.
Sue: I just had a flashback to William Hartnell. I’m not impressed with this guy.
Me: It’s Leonard Sachs!
Sue: Well, he might have been a great actor once, but he’s very dithery now. It’s like watching Bruce Forsyth on Strictly. I’m a bag of nerves waiting for him to cock it up.
Hedin persuades Nyssa to drop her weapon.
Sue: It sounds as if her gun shattered into a thousand tiny pieces when it hit the floor. That’s shoddy Gallifreyan workmanship for you.
Hedin drops the bombshell – the villain is Gallifrey’s first Time Lord.
Sue: I should know this, shouldn’t I?
The Doctor: Omega?
Hedin: Yes, Omega.
Sue: Nope. Sorry, that doesn’t ring any bells.
I pause the DVD.
Me: How can you forget Omega?
Sue: I’ve never seen him before!
Me: He’s wearing a different hat. Wait.
I find a picture of Omega circa 1973.
Me: Ring any bells? The Three Doctors? You kept mispronouncing his name. Gary watched it with us. Gel guards (with a hard G)? No?
Sue: Vaguely. I don’t remember those kinds of details. I’m not a fan. I haven’t got enough room in my brain to store that sort of information. If he’d worn the same hat, I might have stood a better chance.
Me: I know. I remember being bitterly disappointed when I saw this aged 13. I wanted him to look exactly like he did on the cover to The Three Doctors Target novelisation. It still annoys me to this day.
Sue: You complain about Nyssa never changing her clothes but when a villain does it, you go mental. It’s double standards, Neil.
The episode concludes with Omega taking control of the Matrix.
Sue: That was very exciting.
Me: Was it?
Sue: Yes, there’s an epic quality to this one. I’m actually following it, too. What’s not to like?
Thalia prepares the Matrix terminal for a pulse loop.
Sue: She looks like she should be married to Henry VIII.
When the Doctor tells Nyssa that Tegan is alive and well, Nyssa smiles.
Sue: I’m surprised by that. I thought Nyssa would want to keep the Doctor all to herself.
The Doctor and Nyssa arrive in Amsterdam. The Doctor traces Tegan to a youth hostel, but he doesn’t have the money to make a phone call.
Sue: He’ll have to pimp Nyssa out in a shop window. It should only take her half an hour or so.
As the Doctor and Nyssa continue their investigations, Sue decides to sing the theme tune to Van der Valk.
Sue: This is very interesting. It’s a snapshot of what life was like before mobile phones and sat-navs. If they remade this story today, they would have found Tegan 15 minutes ago.
Tegan, Colin and Robin decide to sit it out in Omega’s TARDIS.
Sue: Tegan is a wimp in this story. After everything she has been through, I expect her to be in the middle of an escape attempt by now.
The Doctor reaches Omega’s crypt, but when he disconnects the fusion booster from the wall, the Ergon attacks him.
Sue: Hang on a minute… if the Atomic Rooster kills the Doctor, wouldn’t that completely **** up Omega’s plan? He hasn’t thought this through.
Nyssa shoots the Ergon in the head.
Sue: Fried chicken!
The Doctor enters Omega’s TARDIS. Omega threatens to kill Tegan if the Doctor interferes with his plans.
Sue: So the choice is basically Tegan or the safety of billions? It’s not exactly rocket science, is it?
The Doctor drops his gun.
The Arc of Infinity destroys Omega’s TARDIS.
Sue: Did Omega just do an Adric? I’m sure he jumped off his chair before the explosion went off.
Omega removes his helmet. The Doctor stares back at himself in disbelief.
Sue: That would have been a fabulous cliffhanger. They wasted it. However, I do like Peter Davison with a deep voice. It’s very sexy.
Omega wanders off into Amsterdam. He becomes fascinated by a steam organ.
Sue: If he thinks that’s good, just you wait until he sees the red light district. It will blow his mind.
Omega bonds with a small boy. No, that like that.
Sue: That’s a bit creepy. Actually, I’m not sure who is the most creepy: Omega or the kid? That boy will grow up to be a serial killer, you mark my words.
The Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan pursue the renegade Time Lord through the streets of Amsterdam. They hear a woman screaming in the distance.
Sue: False alarm – it’s just somebody having a bad LSD trip. It happens all the time in Amsterdam.
Omega begins to fall apart.
Sue: It looks like he’s had an accident with a carton of mushy peas.
Nyssa spots Omega across the street.
Sue: (As Nyssa) Quick, Doctor! He’s run into the History of Sex Museum!
Omega ducks into an alleyway. When he comes back out again, he is played by Ian Collier.
Sue: Hey! That’s not Peter Davison! Why did they do that? Did Peter refuse to go all the way?
The chase goes on.
Sue: The cobbles are so uneven, it’s a miracle no one was hurt.
The pursuit terminates at the end of little pier.
Sue: I’m surprised you didn’t drag me to this location the last time we went to Amsterdam. Didn’t you want to visit the place where Peter Davison shot Omega?
Me: I was too busy dealing with your boss –
Sue feels sorry for Omega.
Omega: If I am denied life, then all must perish!
Sue: Okay I’ve gone off him now. Shoot him.
The Doctor obliges and Omega pops his clogs.
Sue: He’s made of tiny fireworks. That’s nice.
The episode concludes when Tegan rejoins the TARDIS crew. The look on the Doctor’s face says it all, really.
Sue: I think he secretly hates Tegan.
The credits roll and Sue has a question:
Sue: What happened to Colin and Robin? We didn’t say goodbye to them.
Me: Don’t worry, they’ll be back in the next story. Oops, sorry, that was meant to be a surprise.
Sue: I really enjoyed that. The location was excellent, I could follow most of the plot and I can even forgive the silly chicken. Okay, I can’t forgive the silly chicken, but the rest of it rattled along at a fair old pace and it definitely had its moments. I’ve seen a lot worse.