I wanted Nicol to watch at least one Colin Baker episode with us and The Two Doctors seemed like the safest bet. It’s a story about vegetarianism (Nicol has been meat-free for the last year) and it’s set in an exotic location (she likes Spain). And if she didn’t agree to watch it with us, I’d delete this week’s episode of Homeland from the PVR.

I cue up the DVD’s Episode Selection screen.

Sue: It’s three episodes. But that means…
Nicol: Only three episodes? That’s short.
Sue: Don’t get your hopes up, Nic. These episodes are 45-minutes long.
Nicol: WHAT?
Sue: This is the same length as a six-parter. I knew you were hiding something from me, Neil. This had better be good.


Part One

The Two DoctorsSue: Only two Doctors this time? We had five last time. Were there cutbacks at the BBC?
Nicol: Does the Doctor regenerate? Is that why there’s two of them?
Sue: I bet he teams up with one of the old ones. I bet I know who it will be as well. Let me guess. I bet it’s.

Oh dear, too late.

Sue: It’s Patrick Troughton!
Nicol: This is black and white. I’m not watching this if it’s in black and white.
Sue: Hang on a minute, something isn’t right.
Nicol: Yes, I know. I was expecting Colin Baker.
Sue: He’s old. This Doctor shouldn’t have grey hair. This doesn’t make any sense.
Me: I’ll explain later.
Sue: Explain now.
Me: I can’t. It will take too long and Nicol will fall into a coma. I’ll tell you when the episode has finished.
Sue: It’s great to see him again. I’ve missed him. I don’t care if this is three parts any more.

Nicol sighs.

The Two DoctorsThe Doctor and Jamie are heading for the space station Chimera where some of the most brilliant scientists in the universe have assembled to work together. The Doctor tells Jamie that he wants to slip in quietly.

Second Doctor: Think of the commotion! They’ll all be scrambling around wanting my autograph.
Sue: I met his son recently.
Me: Yes, I know. I was there.
Sue: He was lovely. Just like his dad. He was the best thing about that bloody convention.

The TARDIS materialises in the station’s kitchen. The Doctor and Jamie are threatened by a chef, Shockeye o’ the Quauncing Grig.

Sue: It’s Gordon Ramsay in one of his better moods.

The Doctor demands to see Dastari, the station’s Head of Projects.

Sue: Has Colin got the whole week off? Not that I’m complaining.

Jacqueline Pearce appears as an Androgum named Chessene.

The Two DoctorsSue: Is she famous?
Me: That’s Servalan.
Sue: Who?
Nicol: Who?
Me: It isn’t important.
Sue: Will you explain anything to me today?

The Second Doctor meets his old friend, Dastari. The scientist brags about genetically augmenting Chessene into a genius.

Sue: So he’s basically a plastic surgeon for the brain. I think I’d prefer some Botox, thanks.

Spherical objects are rapidly approaching the space station.

Sue: Sontarans!
Nicol: How did you know that?

She points at the Character Options Sontaran Scout Ship gathering dust on our sideboard.

The Two DoctorsSue: I was with him in Forbidden Planet when he bought it. It looks like a mini-Epcot centre. You can’t even fit the Sontaran inside it. What a rip off.
Nicol: Even I know what the Sontarans are.
Sue: We like the Sontarans. They’re not all bad. Some of them are quite nice, actually.

The Moff has a lot to answer for.

Elsewhere, the Sixth Doctor is fishing for gumblejacks.

Sue: There he is, Nicol. That’s the Sixth Doctor.
Nicol: You can’t really miss him in that coat.

The Doctor gets a bite.

The Doctor: That’s a whopper.
Sue: If Nicol wasn’t here, I would have said something rude.
Nicol: Mother!
Sue: This is a much better look for Nicola.
Nicol: That’s Nicola Bryant?
Sue: Yes.
The Two DoctorsNicol: The Nicola Bryant?
Sue: Yes.
Nicol: That’s Nev Fountain’s girlfriend?
Sue: Yes.
Nicol: Wow.
Sue: I know.
Nicol: Is she really American?
Sue: What do you think?
Nicol: No comment. I might bump into her in a pub.

The Doctor catches a tiny fish and he throws it back.

Nicol: It’s too late. You’ve killed it now.
Me: Please, don’t say that, Nicol. Your mum keeps having flashbacks.
Sue: He should have eaten it. I’ve seen them eat smaller fish on Survivor. What a waste.

Back on the space station, the Second Doctor is giving Dastari a hard time about time.

The Two DoctorsSue: Since when did Patrick Troughton work for the Time Lords? I don’t remember him doing that. Wasn’t he running away from them?
Me: I’ll explain later.
Nicol: Just tell her now. She won’t stop going about it if you don’t tell her.

I pause the DVD and I do my best to explain season 6B to her while Nicol checks her Facebook profile. I can’t be bothered to go through it again here, so if you are unfamiliar with the concept, please read this.

Sue: I wish I hadn’t asked now. So which fan with too much time on his hands came up with that lousy idea?
Me: Robert Holmes.
Sue: Oh. Well, in that case, I suppose it makes sense. It would explain his grey hair, I suppose. It still doesn’t feel right, though.
Nicol: When can we watch Homeland?
Sue: Will I have to watch this 6B whatsit?
Me: No. Well, apart from this story, of course.
Sue: That’s alright, then. You had me worried for a second. As much as I like Patrick Troughton, I don’t want to start going backwards.

The Second Doctor is very upset with Dastari.

Sue: This is what I miss. Passion. Tom Baker had it, but no one does it quite like Troughton.

The Doctor chastises Jamie for possessing a mongrel accent.

Nicol: Blimey. What would he say about our accents?
Sue: Don’t worry, Nic, they took the piss out the of North East in the last one.

The Two DoctorsThe Sontarans board the space station. The Second Doctor is held at gunpoint.

Sue: Abracadabra!

Shockeye can’t wait to eat a human.

Shockeye: The meat looks so white and roundsomely layered on the bone, a sure sign of a tasty animal.
Nicol: I bet he has a buttery biscuit base too.

Meanwhile, the Sixth Doctor is recovering from a fainting fit. For a few moments, it felt to him like he was being put to death.

Sue: Right. So all the other Doctors must have experienced the exact same thing, yes? I hope it didn’t happen to them in the middle of an adventure. That would have been awkward. At least this one was just larking about.

Peri suggests that the Doctor sees a Doctor and he agrees, but when they arrive on space station Chimera to consult with Dastari (“What are the chances?”), they find the place deserted.

Nicol: Is it just me or have the production values gone since last time? It doesn’t look as cheap.
Sue: It does look good, doesn’t it? The lighting is very atmospheric.
Me: It’s directed by Peter Moffat. You hate Peter Moffat.
Sue: This is alright. Maybe he’s making an extra-special effort this week?

The Two DoctorsThe Doctor detects the stench of death; this doesn’t exactly put Peri’s mind at rest.

Nicol: He doesn’t appear to care for his companion at all.
Sue: I know what you mean. He’s horrible to her sometimes. She keeps going back to him like an abused girlfriend.
Nicol: He hardly looks at her. There’s no connection between them.
Sue: I know. It’s very sad.

The odd couple are stopped in their tracks by an automated computer system. The computer turns up the heat.

Sue: If we’re really lucky, Nicol, Colin will take his coat off.
Nicol: Just so long as he keeps his shirt on.
Sue: Peri can’t strip off. She’s got nowhere to go.
Nicol: Did you dress like her in the eighties?
Sue: Oh yes, Peri is quite fashionable in this one. I bet the dads were pleased to see her back in shorts again.

And then, just like that, we’re in Spain.

Sue: They haven’t really gone to Spain, have they? Oh, they have! Is this another one of JNT’s jollies?

Shockeye can’t wait to eat some human meat.

Shockeye: Don’t use the gas injector, madam. They give the flesh an acrid taste. I’ll slaughter it myself.
Nicol: He reminds me of Fat Bastard from Austin Powers. “I ate a bay-bay!”

The Sixth Doctor and Peri find a corpse in the space station’s galley.

The Doctor: We haven’t got time to bother about dead Androgums, Peri.
Nicol: Does he ever show any compassion? Why does Peri travel with him?
Sue: I don’t know. It’s a bit like marrying for money, I suppose. She gets to see the universe but she has to put up with him at the same time.

The Doctor and Peri enter the space station’s infrastructure.

The Two DoctorsNicol: It’s a level from The Crystal Maze.
Me: Oh, for ****’s sake, Nicol.

The Doctor decides to lecture Peri.

The Doctor: When you ask a question, you should listen to the answer, my girl, otherwise you will gain absolutely no benefit from being in my company.
Nicol: He’s horrible! I don’t like him at all.
Sue: He’s got no hearts.

They hear a strange growling sound.

Sue: That’s you every morning, Neil.

The Doctor attempts to disarm the computer’s defence system.

Nicol: If he gets this right, he wins a crystal.

The Doctor: I can’t remember what blue stands for.
Sue: Neutral, you fool! I thought the Doctor was supposed to be a genius?

Meanwhile, in sunny Spain, a Sontaran is taking in the view.

The Two DoctorsSue: It’s not right seeing a Sontaran sunning himself on a Veranda in Spain. He’ll burn his head.

The Sontarans are working with Chessene and Shockeye.

Sue: I have to say, these Sontarans look a bit cheap to me. They don’t look right. They look plasticky.

In the Andalucian countryside, a British lepidopterist named Oscar Botcherby and his Spanish girlfriend, Anita, are hunting for moths.

Sue: See, Nicol. Marrying for money.

Back on the space station, the computer overpowers the Doctor with some gas and the Time Lord falls onto some cables.

Sue: That wasn’t a great cliffhanger. It wasn’t even a good Colinhanger.

The credits roll.

Sue: That was alright. The script is very good – but of course it is, it’s Robert Holmes – and I like the location. What do you think, Nicol? …. Nicol?
Me: She’s asleep. Still, look on the bright side, at least we don’t have to watch Homeland.


Part Two

Nicol didn’t join us for Part Two. Funny that.

The Doctor recovers from his gassing in Part One.

Peri: How did you breath?
The Doctor: With difficulty. I’ll explain one day.
Sue: He’s as bad as you.

The Two DoctorsThe Doctor and Peri find Jamie McCrimmon living in the station’s infrastructure.

Sue: Why was Jamie growling like a wolf? Has he got a bad chest infection?

The Doctor tries to work out the logic behind the Second Doctor dying and him living on.

Peri: I don’t understand any of this.
Sue: Neither do I, love. Neither do I.

The Doctor hypnotises Jamie and the poor lad describes an assault by the Sontarans.

Jamie: They had a sort of armour. Heavy with no necks. And their hands were just two great fingers.
Sue: And they look like potatoes. You can’t leave that out.
Me: They probably had their helmets on.
Sue: You always have to spoil everything.

After removing some acupuncture needles from Jamie’s neck (“I bet that really hurt.”), the Doctor leaves Jamie to recover from his ordeal in a duct.

Sue: He doesn’t care about any of his companions, does he? Even the old ones.

The Two DoctorsMeanwhile, in Spain, Oscar and Anita mistakenly believe that they have seen a plane crash. Oscar doesn’t want to get involved in the search for any survivors.

Oscar: I’m not a well man.
Sue: (as Anita) I know. That is why I’m going out with you. I am waiting for you to have a massive heart attack.

Peri suggest that somebody has framed the Time Lords.

The Doctor: (mocking Peri) Set them up!
Sue: She still isn’t French, you know.

The Doctor uses the station’s computer to search for information.

Sue: I like the touch screen. Very swish. They need to work on the shape of its screen, though. It’s a bit wonky.

Peri admires herself in a mirror.

Peri: I look a mess.
Sue: Don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember what you were wearing last week.

The Two DoctorsPeri leaves the Doctor to contemplate the end of the universe when he is suddenly confronted by the image of his companion in great pain. The Doctor watches in horror as Peri’s image is replaced by Dastari’s, and then the Second Doctor, and then, finally, his own.

Sue: Are they all trapped in a test tube of time?

It’s just a projection and the real Peri gets to watch herself being tortured.

Peri: Doctor, it’s horrible. Stop it!
Sue: Your top isn’t that bad, honestly.

Luckily for them, the Sontarans forgot to turn off their animator when they left the station.

Sue tutted so loudly you probably heard her.

Sue: ****ing idiots.

The Doctor puts himself in a trance so he can contact his earlier self.

Jamie: I think your Doctor’s worse than mine.
Sue: All the Doctor are worse than yours, Jamie. You just have to get on with it.

The Second Doctor regains consciousness in the hacienda’s cellar.

Second Doctor: Jamie?
Sue: See, the first thing he thinks of his of his companion. That’s because he’s a good Doctor.

A Sontaran and Shockeye transport some heavy boxes into the cellar.

Sue: I like the Sontarans’ theme music. You can hum along to it. The music is very good, actually. I like a bit of Spanish guitar.

The Two DoctorsShockeye complains about the amount of bone and gristle on the old lady who used to live in the hacienda.

Sue: I love this character. What’s he called again?
Me: Shockeye.
Sue: Is that supposed to be like Och Aye? He looks Scottish with those ginger eyebrows of his. And he’s wearing a kilt, isn’t he?

Shockeye munches on a rat.

Sue: That was disgusting but I can’t take my eyes off him.

The Sixth Doctor wakes from his trance with bells ringing in his head.

The Doctor: Boing! The largest of the 25 bells in the cathedral at Seville. Most distinctive.
Sue: Come to think of it, Sherlock Holmes isn’t very likeable, either.

As if to prove this point, the Doctor is incredibly rude to Peri once again.

The Doctor: Oh, do try and use your brain, my girl. Small though it is the human brain can be quite effective when used properly.
Sue: Just speak to her as a friend. Just once. Please.

Stike, Group Marshal Stike of the Ninth Sontaran attack group, makes his big entrance.

Sue: He is too tall to be proper Sontaran. They don’t look right to me. This one has a lopsided face. They look like the sort of thing a fan might make.

The Two DoctorsThe Sixth Doctor’s TARDIS materialises in Spain.

Sue: Yes! He’s taken his coat off! Having said that, his waistcoat is just as bad. It’s too loud. God help us if he goes to Hawaii.

Oscar and Anita approach the TARDIS to report a plane crash. The Doctor, pretending to be a policeman, asks Oscar to lead him to the hacienda.

Oscar: We Botcherbies have never shirked public service. My dear departed father was an air raid warden in Shepton Mallet throughout the war. He slept in a steel helmet for five years.
Sue: I love Robert Holmes. I love little touches like that. You don’t get enough of them in the other stories.

The Second Doctor discovers to his horror that Dastari is the bad guy.

Sue: Yeah, and I bet he killed the radio star as well.
Dastari: I confess I was sad that the Time Lords chose to send you as their emissary, because I’ve always had a certain regard for you, Doctor.
Sue: He was hoping for Jon Pertwee. He can’t stand that one.

The Two DoctorsThe Second Doctor admonishes his old friend.

Sue: I love him. Why can’t he come back for good?

Stike slaps the Second Doctor across the face.

Sue: I’ve gone right off the Sontarans now.

Meanwhile, Shockeye is upstairs, reading a cook book.

Shockeye: There cannot be a creature on the planet that humans do not kill and eat. Many beasts are bred especially for table. They are force-fed to improve the flesh, and penned in small, confined quarters to fatten more rapidly.
Sue: What kind of recipe book goes into that kind of detail? Is he reading Rosemary Shrager’s ‘Torturing Animals to Death in 5 Easy Steps’ or something? That’s mad.

Peri arrives at the hacienda. She knocks on the door.

Sue: Do you know what this door needs?
Me: A huge pair of knockers?
Sue: Typical bloke. (pause) Actually, I was going to say the exact same thing, you bastard.

Shockeye can’t believe his luck when he spies Peri on his doorstep.

Sue: Look at the dirty perv. There’s a queue, mate.

The Two DoctorsDastari tries to isolate the symbiotic nuclei within the Second Doctor’s cell structure.

Sue: For a machine that’s supposed to be so high-tech, you’d think it’d be quieter.

The Sixth Doctor thanks Anita for her time and she kisses him on the cheek in return. She doesn’t give Jamie the same treatment.

Sue: She’s into DILFs. Having said that, Jamie’s no spring chicken himself.

The Sixth Doctor and Jamie enter the old ice house.

Sue: The direction isn’t that bad. The lighting is okay. It could do with more close-ups, but this is definitely Peter Moffat’s best stab at it so far.

Shockeye doesn’t want to eat a Sontaran.

Shockeye: They always seem so tough and tasteless.
Sue: You never know, they might taste of potato. Try mashing its head in.

The Sixth Doctor discovers a Kartz-Reimer time module in the hacienda’s cellar.

Sue: How on Earth is a Sontaran supposed to fit inside that thing? Jimmy Krankie would struggle to get into that. They haven’t thought it through.

Peri leaves the hacienda before she can become Dish of the Day on Shockeye’s menu. But Shockeye won’t take no for an answer and he chases her into the countryside.

The Two DoctorsSue: They should play a spanish arrangement of the Benny Hill theme over this.

Peri trips over and the episode concludes with an Androgum leaning over her with hunger in its eyes.

Sue: Do you think he’s a leg or a breast man?

The credits roll.

Sue: I’m really enjoying this. I’m actually looking forward to the next one.


Part Three

The Two DoctorsPeri is manhandled by Shockeye.

Sue: Sexual abuse before the watershed. Dear, oh dear.

Shockeye wishes Peri was a boy.

Sue: The mind boggles. I don’t want to know.

Stike threatens to kill Jamie if the Sixth Doctor doesn’t prime his time cabinet for him.

Sue: The thing is, this Doctor would let a companion die for the greater good and he wouldn’t even bat an eyelid. And besides, it’s only Jamie.

Jamie sticks his dirk into the Sontaran’s leg. Stike goes down hard.

Sue: Right, first of all, what kind of armour is he wearing if a tiny knife like that can get through it? And secondly, why are these Sontarans so stupid? Are they supposed to be the comic relief?

Shockeye prepares to butcher Peri but he is interrupted by Chessene.

Sue: And the Doctor is nowhere to be seen. His companion would be dead now if it wasn’t for her. He’s not very good, is he?

Stike heads outside to plot a double-cross.

Sue: This place could do with a gardener. They’ve really let the place go.

Chessene has persuaded Dastari to turn the Second Doctor into an Androgum, using Shockeye’s genes as a template. Shockeye doesn’t take the news well.

Sue: Either those straps are supposed to be made of toffee, and their technology is entirely food-based, or he’s really, really strong.

The Two DoctorsThe Second Doctor is an Androgum and all he can think about is food.

Sue: Troughton is fabulous in this. It’s a brilliant performance.

Stike is betrayed by Chessene. She demonstrates this by dropping a grenade on his head.

Sue: It’s only a Catherine Wheel, you wimp. Why are Sontarans afraid of fireworks?

Chessene is a genius.

Sue: A genius with no peripheral vision. How did she not see three heads pop behind that wall at the same time?

Shockeye and an Androgumised Doctor head into town for a quick bite.

Sue: This is a spin-off I’d like to see. They could travel Europe sampling delicacies together. It’s got BBC2 written all over it.

Stike survived Chessene’s gas attack.

Sue: Has he been hiding in the lettuce?

The Second Doctor and Shockeye arrive in Seville.

Sue: Finally! I thought we’d never get to see the place. What took them so long?

The Sixth Doctor can feel the effects of the Androgum inheritance catching up with him.

Sue: Right, so are all the other Doctors having a bad case of the munchies right now?

The Two DoctorsAn injured Stike staggers into the Kartz-Reimer machine.

Sue: He’s basically just put himself in a microwave. What an idiot. I almost feel sorry for him.

The Second Doctor fancies an hors d’oeuvre.

The Second Doctor: Pate de foie gras de Strasbourg en croute, for instance, or a serving of Belon oysters. Even a light salad with artichoke hearts and country ham will suffice.
Sue: All this talking about food is making me hungry.
Me: Do you fancy a pasty?
Sue: Yeah. That would be lovely.

Seville appears to be deserted.

Sue: They must have shot this at dawn on a Sunday. The place is empty.

The Second Doctor tells Shockeye that he knows a really good place just around the corner.

Sue: It won’t be open yet. It’s 6am.

Dastari is searching the city for the Doctor when he’s distracted by a mad woman on a balcony.

The Two DoctorsSue: ‘O Buggles, Buggles, wherefore art thou Buggles?
Me: She’s got the horn for Trevor Horn.

Stike staggers into his own ship.


The ship explodes.

Sue: They’ll have to get the builders in now. And get a gardener while you’re at it. The grounds are an overgrown mess.

The Second Doctor and Shockeye arrive at the restaurant run by Oscar and Anita.

Sue: What are the chances of that?

Shockeye wants to know if they serve humans. In sauce and stuff.

Oscar: I’m afraid the nouvelle cuisine has not yet penetrated this establishment.
Sue: That is hilarious. I remember when nouvelle cuisine was really big in the eighties. Everybody took the piss out of it.
Me: Nice pasty?
Sue: Lovely, thanks.

The Sixth Doctor takes his fondness for cats too far.

Sue: If he so much as picks up a cat, there’ll be trouble. Besides, there was no meat on the poor thing anyway.

The Two DoctorsOscar presents his guests with the bill. Shockeye offers to pay with a twenty narg note.

Sue: How many zonks do you get to the narg?

The only tip Oscar gets that night is from the end of a knife.

Sue: No, he didn’t just… He can’t have… Did he? Oh my God, he has. That was shocking. I didn’t think that would happen in a million years. We were watching a comedy a minute ago!

Oscar doesn’t rush his death scene.

Sue: That managed to be shocking and ridiculous at the same time. What the hell just happened?

Oscar’s girlfriend is left to pick up the pieces.

Sue: Don’t worry, love. You’re quids in now. Or pesetas. Whatever.

Shockeye returns to the hacienda and he finds what’s left of Stike’s leg marinating in lettuce jus.

Sue: They are just taking the piss out of the Sontarans now. This could have been a tight two-parter if it wasn’t for them. Idiots.

Peri is placed into the Kartz-Reimer machine.

The Two DoctorsSue: (Singing) Mr and Mrs, be nice to each other.

Shockeye is still hungry. He wants to eat a Jack but a Jamie will have to do.

Sue: Why is he obsessed with eating men?
Me: Maybe he likes sweetmeat.

The Doctors are manacled together in the cellar. Dastari leaves the keys on a nearby table.

Sue: Stupid Buggles.

Jamie is screaming upstairs.

Sue: I think cock ballotine is on the menu tonight.

The Sixth Doctor is cut by Shockeye. The Doctor makes a run for it (“He’s left Jamie behind to die”) and Chessene laps up his trail of blood. Dastari looks away in disgust.

Sue: That was an excellent scene. There are some interesting ideas in this, even if it is a bit of a mess.

The Androgum pursues the wounded Time Lord into the countryside. The Doctor discovers Oscar’s moth hunting equipment.

Sue: Is Oscar the patron saint of coincidences or something?

The Two DoctorsWhen the Doctor attacks Shockeye, Sue doesn’t bat an eyelid.

Me: You do realise that the Doctor is killing him, don’t you?
Sue: WHAT? You have got to be kidding me.

I’m not, and the Doctor isn’t that bothered about it, either.

The Doctor: Your just desserts.
Sue: I don’t know how I feel about that. I’m conflicted. It’s very dark.

The Doctor returns to the hacienda. He tells his companions not to worry about Shockeye.

The Doctor: He’s been, er, mothballed.
Sue: Two quips is pushing it, mate. You’ll be writing songs about it next.

The Two Doctors bid each other farewell.

The Two DoctorsThe Second Doctor: Do try and keep out of my way in future and in past, there’s a good fellow. The time continuum should be big enough for the both of us. Just.
Sue: Was that a dig at Colin’s weight?

The Sixth Doctor and Peri head for the exit.

Peri: After you.
The Doctor: No, After you
Sue: He’s still a **** to her, even when he’s trying to be polite.

The Doctor decides to become a vegetarian and the credits roll.

Sue: Are they doing that to cover up the fact that he is putting on some weight? Was that the point of the exercise?


The Score

Sue: This is a tricky one to mark. There’s a lot wrong with it. The Sontarans were a complete waste of time. Spain was wasted, too. They could have shot it anywhere. I’m still not convinced that making the Doctor a horrible person to be around is very wise, either. But I loved having Patrick Troughton back and Shockeye was great fun; the script was very funny. It could have been shorter and the direction could have been a lot better, but I still enjoyed it.



Now then, now then, now then.

I decided not show Sue ‘A Fix with Sontarans’ at first. I thought I’d punished her enough. But when we finished the second episode, I just could help myself. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.

A Fix with SontaransSue: Why are you making me watch this? This is wrong.
Me: I know.
Sue: What the **** is Tegan doing with Colin Baker?

When Gareth Jenkins turns up, she immediately wants to mother him.

Sue: Bless. Do you think wanted Daleks and Cybermen instead of Sontarans? He doesn’t look very happy about it. And he looks down the camera lens more than Tom Baker did.
Me: He’s looking for the exit.

The mini-episode concludes with the biggest “not for kids” moment on this blog so far.

Tegan: It’s monstrous!
The Doctor: It’s revolting!

It’s Jimmy ******.

Sue: Switch it off! I can’t watch this. I mean it, Neil. Switch it off!

When it’s finally over, Sue gives me that look.

Sue: That was horrible. Why did you make me watch that? Is Gareth okay?
Me: Yes, he’s fine.
Sue: It must be really difficult for him to talk about it. I feel sorry for him. And if that wasn’t bad enough, he had to meet Jimmy ****** as well.


When we finished The Two Doctors, I decided to take a spin through some of the DVD extras on Disc 2 while Sue went off to put the tea on. I started to watch ‘Under the Lights’, a compilation of rushes taken from the story’s studio recording sessions, but I got bored with it and I decided to take a quick shower instead. However, when I came back a few minutes later, I found Sue completely engrossed in it.

The Two DoctorsMe: What the hell are you doing?
Sue: It’s good, this. I’m thinking of showing it to my TV studio students. It’s a good demonstration of how to make simple, safe drama in a multi-camera TV studio.
Me: Good luck with that.
Sue: Colin’s very good, you know. Some of the takes they didn’t use were a lot better than some of the ones they did.


Coming Soon




  1. Dave Sanders  November 30, 2012

    Rob Shearman can breathe easy.

  2. Stuart Ian Burns  November 30, 2012

    “Some of the takes they didn’t use were a lot better than some of the ones they did.”

    The whole of Doctor Who history in just eighteen words. Amazing.

  3. Lewis Christian  November 30, 2012

    ‘A Fix’ is actually quite good, if you ignore the final 3-4 minutes. It’s fun, and Tegan/Six work 10x better than Peri/Six.

    7/10 is what I rate this story too. Another great update!

  4. Rob  November 30, 2012

    I adore that Gareth Jenkins is head of Save the Children, the Doctor would be proud. And he’s still a big fan.

    • Roff Joffley  November 30, 2012

      I had no idea that Gareth had gone on to such great things. Good on him!

  5. Dave Sanders  November 30, 2012

    “Listen to the fan theories churning…”

    • Gavin Noble  November 30, 2012

      Better than the stomach churning at A Fix With Sontarans!

  6. Merast  November 30, 2012

    It was definately fun seeing Pat back, it’s a massive shame he died only a couple of years later. I’m pretty sure he’d have kept up with Doctor Who and appeared whenever he could, he was good like that. This is probably one of the better stories of the season.

  7. Dave Sanders  November 30, 2012

    One of the peculiarities of The Two Doctors – and I’m putting this down as deliberate on the part of Robert Holmes, who loved to muddy the moral waters like this – is that whatever opinion you have of it, you basically can’t win. Tat Wood lambasts Holmes for what he sees as advocating a caste system in the script, apparently not realising that in taking the opposite view, he’s unwittingly advocating eugenics.

    • encyclops  November 30, 2012

      I’d love to hear you expand on this a bit, though I’m not sure whether Neil would. Then again, how much more on-topic could we be?

      • Dave Sanders  December 1, 2012

        You’ve already done it, lower down.

  8. Sean Alexander  November 30, 2012

    ‘Goodnight sweet prince…’

  9. David McKee  November 30, 2012

    This story is a lot of fun even tho I wasn’t aware if the 6B stuff as a kid. One of my fave of TCB’s stories. Am still loving Sue’s commentaries. Interweb highlight of the week for me. I might faint if I ever met her.

  10. Richard Lyth  November 30, 2012

    Glad Sue liked this – it’s one of the few Colin Baker stories that I actually enjoy watching, although that’s mostly down to Robert Holmes, Patrick Troughton and the guy playing Shockeye. The ending was a missed opportunity though – when the Doctor says “From now on, it’s a healthy vegetarian diet for both of us!” Peri should have said “Speak for yourself fatty, I could murder a hot dog!”

  11. encyclops  November 30, 2012

    I adore this story. It’s my favorite Sixth Doctor story by a mile (not counting Big Finish, I suppose), and might even make my top 20 if I ever finalize that list. The locations, the music, and most especially the dialogue and the acting (with one unfortunate exception) — all excellent. The plot is iffy, especially some of the stuff on the space station (without having seen the Sontarans slaughter people, we’re hard-pressed to imagine a battle that could reduce a Highlander to hysteria), but I’ll take great moments over a great story if I must. The one aspect of it that’s really uncomfortable, namely the perplexing racism and essentialism on display from almost every major character, including the Doctor, now seems SO pervasive (especially thanks to the stuff I’ve read about it since) that I find it difficult to believe it’s accidental or unconscious. I don’t know if it’s as deliberate as you might start to think based on Rob Shearman’s awesome defense in About Time, but at the very least it’s intentionally perverse. Lots of Sixth Doctor stories seem to relish violence; this is the only one that seems fully aware of what it’s doing, and maybe to have some idea of what that means.

    It’s just fabulous. The perversity of it is almost unprecedented and unequalled in this show and I don’t think you have to approve of any of it to admire the balls it’s got. The violence, the paranoia (was this where the Time Lords finally and fully shifted from “a few bad apples” to a ruthless gang of bullies?), the innuendo, even the flagrant middle finger to continuity of any kind — it all bothered me a little as a kid, but today I just look at it and marvel. 7/10 seems fair, and definitely more than I dared hope for, but for me it’s a pretty solid 9.

    One of the things dragging it down is Peri. Poor Nicola Bryant has a totally thankless job here and unfortunately she can’t do anything to fix it apart from looking gorgeous. I don’t think the Sixth Doctor is all that much more neglectful than his past incarnations (how many stories are there when the companion is in deadly danger? almost all of them?) but he’s definitely written to be ruder, and she’s written to be stupider (though her infiltration scene is pretty good), and her acting is the one really weak link in this story performancewise. Perhaps her heart wasn’t in it; I’m not sure mine would be by this point.

    • Alisaunder  December 1, 2012

      Once they get to Spain, this is my favorite Colin story too, though he is really great in Big Finish. Its Troughton and Jamie that make this story, and Spain, and Servelan. Even if Companions are older I still want to see them again but they so rarely do in DW.

      I hoped Sue would grade this episode well so am very happy… and hungry… Shockeye has the same effect on me, I need munchies the more they talk about food. But I’m surprised you didn’t watch the retakes of Peri throwing herself on the ground in front of the camera Neil. Some of those were quite impressive.

    • Thomas  December 7, 2012

      Acting-wise, I think this is the point where Bryant finally gets it all in gear and really starts to be able to do something in spite of how awful her character is- I’ve not seen Timelash yet, but she’s fine in Revelation and really excellent through Trial.

      It’s just a shame her character would take even longer to really get into gear…

  12. dlee  November 30, 2012

    “As if to prove this point, the Doctor is incredibly rude to Peri once again.”
    “Me: Oh, for ****’s sake, Nicol.”

    Pot, kettle, black Neil? 😉

  13. ohmywordness  November 30, 2012

    I have been watching through classic Doctor Who and just finished watching this for the first time. I think 7/10 is a pretty fair score. It wasn’t perfect, but still very entertaining. And Patrick Troughton was great, as always.

    I quite like Colin Baker as the Doctor. I know one of the complaints people have is that Six doesn’t seem to care for Peri, but I don’t think that’s the case. What I’ve noticed is just how often he will see danger and tell her to run while he stays behind to slow down the enemies, or he’ll warn her at the risk of his own safety. He’s not too friendly, but he does care. Quite a bit I think.

    I also think this Doctor is trying to be something different from who he is but he just can’t quite do it (whether because of the circumstances of his regeneration, his behavior post regeneration, or something else, I don’t know), so he ends up coming across as kind of arrogant and uncaring. Maybe he has lingering self-doubt from his early behavior and is over-compensating. Maybe the writers said “Let’s make him kind of a jerk and sort it out later”, and didn’t put any more thought into it than that.

    I would love to see the character grow into that more familiar and likeable role with Colin’s twist to it, but with just over a season left with him I doubt it will happen. Regardless, I like this Doctor plenty.
    I hear he is incredible in the Big Finish Audios, so I hope to check those out sometime.

    • Mister  November 30, 2012

      I’m not sure if you will think this a spoiler, but here is some info on the planned nature of the Sixth Doctor.

      It was Colin Baker and JNT’s (though I think mostly Colin’s) idea to sort of go back to the early William Hartnell years in terms of character. The idea was his faulty regeneration would result in a more harsh and dangerous Doctor, but throughout the many years Colin was planning on being the Doctor (he wanted to outlast Tom Baker!) the hard Doctor would gradually peel away to reveal a softer and kinder Doctor.

      Sadly, his television time as the Doctor was cut short so the character development couldn’t happen as planned, but you still see it in his later episodes. Big Finish continues this trend. There are some stories taking place in this Doctor’s early adventures where he is harsh, but the many stories that take place after his final TV season continually becomes softer just as originally intended.

      • ohmywordness  November 30, 2012

        Thank you for the info. I have heard enough little things here and there to not have too many major spoilers left, but I still try to avoid reading reviews of stories I haven’t watched yet to avoid spoiling them.
        I knew generally about the planned character arc, but I was not sure who exactly was behind it, or if much planning went into its cause or how it would be played out. I figured they must have at least progressed some with that, but I will have to wait and see just how much. I also wasn’t sure if Big Finish continued on that arc or if they abandoned it, so it’s nice to know they did something with it. Even if they didn’t, I like him just how he is so far.

        I remember from an interview that Colin wanted a long tenure on the show, and that he was, and still is, a long time fan of the show. I think he had been watching since the first episode aired, It’s frustrating that he got screwed over so badly. Same goes for Paul McGann. Not to go off topic, but I want those two more than any past Doctor to be involved in the 50th anniversary. I think they definitely deserve more screen time. I’m sure that whatever happens will be good.

        • encyclops  November 30, 2012

          I’d love to see Colin’s Doctor return, though of the two McGann seems more likely, and potentially more interesting in that he’d probably be pre-Time War. It would be interesting to see Matt Smith encountering his former self who didn’t know yet what he’d be called upon to do, and having a chance to say, “I forgive me.”

          (Obviously the Sixth Doctor is pre-Time War too, but unless that got even more timey wimey than previously imagined, he’s not the incarnation that participates in it.)

          • ohmywordness  November 30, 2012

            I agree that McGann is more likely, and it would be a very interesting meeting between him and eleven.
            One last comment about The Two Doctors. I’m surprised that as extreme as some of the content was, it never felt like it pushed beyond what was reasonable. I quite enjoyed this story, and overall I’ve enjoyed this season, so far.

    • MB  December 1, 2012

      Dave Stone covered Six’s attitude to her rather well. In one of his Virgin books, there’s a bit where he breaks off from lambasting Peri for confusing the words “universe” and “galaxy”, and says, “I really don’t regret it, you know. Losing my other life for you. Never think that.”
      Given that he had died for her, making that regeneration one of the most poignant, I think he deserves to be a little short with her now and then, when she falls below standards.

  14. John Callaghan  November 30, 2012

    You know what they should have done? They should have had the second and sixth Doctor segments on the space station happening simultaneously and cut between them. So the audience see Colin and Peri find a dead body, and then there’d be a cut to an earlier time when that person was still alive. They’d know something awful was on the way, and would be waiting for the hammer to fall…

    • Paul Mc Elvaney  November 30, 2012

      That’s an excellent idea, actually. Maybe they could use something like that for a future story? Are you listening, Moffat? 🙂

      • John Callaghan  November 30, 2012

        Thanks! I reckon there’s potential there for a Phantom Edit-style remix of Two Doctors!

    • BWT  December 1, 2012

      “They’d know something awful was on the way, and would be waiting for the hammer to fall…”

      Hammer to Fall? Freddie Mercury? Now that would have been a great guest spot…

    • Lewis Christian  December 2, 2012

      Search ”The Two Doctors 90 minute edit Episode 1 pt1” on YouTube 😉

      • John Callaghan  December 2, 2012

        Crikey! Thanks for the link. I wonder if I was subconsciously aware of that edit. Although more could have been made of the two time-zone idea if the intercutting was on a script level, that’s exactly what I meant. The editor does remove the sixth Doctor’s motive for going to the station, and the set-up of him as a fish-eater, however.

        I’m also amused by Peri casually eating a banana as she wanders around a bloodbath! I’m less amused by the second Doctor’s attitude to the Androgums – it seems a little too close to racism. Philip Sandifer mentioned that the Androgums may have originally not been as human-looking (which would have made Shockeye’s death less shocking). Not that being less human-looking would excuse any of this, of course.

  15. Mister  November 30, 2012

    Yeah, “A Fix with Sontarans” is an awful script for a young fan to be a part of, but I was surprised no one praised Colin for how he tried to make Gareth Jenkins feel welcome. He was very kind to him.

    • encyclops  November 30, 2012

      I have very few negative feelings about the Sixth Doctor these days, and part of the reason is that Colin Baker himself seems more and more lovable the more I hear about him. Like Nicola Bryant, he seems like a charming professional actor let down by extremely poor choices on the part of the production team.

      • Neowhovian  November 30, 2012

        I think “Colin Baker was let down” summarizes this era perfectly.

      • Tempusfugit (the Spanish whovian)  December 1, 2012

        He is great in the audios!

  16. Wholahoop  November 30, 2012

    Definitely a mixed bag for me. Great to see PT again but some dark moments that grated at the time and still grate.

    I once read that Holmes got Troughton and Pertwee confused and assumed PT was an exiled pariah. Anyone know if there’s any truth in that?

    • encyclops  November 30, 2012

      It would fit a lot better. Can you imagine Jo Grant stabbing a Sontaran in the leg?

      I wonder if Sontaran armor is minimal for the same reason they don’t protect that damn probic vent — it seems cowardly to defend yourself with anything other than your combat skill?

      • Wholahoop  December 1, 2012

        “Can you imagine Jo Grant stabbing a Sontaran in the leg?”

        Only by accident 🙂

        • MB  December 1, 2012

          Or with her heels! 😛

  17. Paul Mc Elvaney  November 30, 2012

    The story has some major issues (although after reading Shearman’s and Dr. Sandifer’s opinions I appreciate it a lot more), but I just adore the ingenious Troughton! It’s great to see the mutual respect between Troughton and Baker as well.
    Oh, and this may be a considered a lowlight for Doctor Who, but this era is a highlight for the Wife in Space blog! Wonderful stuff.

    • Frankymole  December 1, 2012

      Troughton and Colin knew each other before this, didn’t they? Or through family anyway. Colin was David Troughton’s flatmate and was best man at his wedding (or vice versa).

  18. Cracked Polystyrene Man  December 1, 2012

    Can’t believe the scene with the Doctor and Peri features Nicola in a bikini top – and the director doesn’t cut from a long shot to a close up of her until AFTER she’s put her shirt back on.

    • encyclops  December 3, 2012

      In most stories, Peri’s character and voice overcome Nicola Bryant’s pulchritude for me. Even with the shirt back on, this is one of the exceptions to that rule.

  19. John Miller  December 1, 2012

    Another superb review from Sue. Although I think “8” rather than “7”.

    And sorry to have to be the one, but did Robert Holmes himself ever mention 6B? His novelisation of Two Doctors has something totally different. There’s also a famous “quote” of his that he never actually made(supposedly in DWM #100).

    Once again Sue nails it: “I loved having Patrick Troughton back”. That’s it. That’s the reason.

    • Wholahoop  December 1, 2012

      I thought Season 6B was fandom’s answer to the 2nd Doctor and Jamie knowing of the timelords. I always assumed this story was meant to be in the 2nd Doctor’s timeline between Evil of the Daleks and Fury from the Deep and it was human error on Robert Holmes’ part that had the Doctor acting on behalf of the timelords before he had previously even mentioned them. But where’s the fun in that? I think I will put it in the same file as UNIT dating and ignore it

      • John Miller  December 1, 2012

        Sorry if anyone thought I was trying to start an argument/debate/off-topic discussion about Season 6B. It was only that Neil said that Robert Holmes himself had come up with the idea. But his novelisation strongly implies otherwise(I put great stock in the novelisations, as some of you may have guessed). The emergence of the idea of Season 6B was years after Holmes had died. And I may well be wrong here, but the first time I ever heard anyone say that Holmes was the originator of the idea was some time after THAT. Of course as he was dead, he could neither confirm nor deny that.

        • Matthew C  December 1, 2012

          I believe it was Terrance Dicks and Paul Cornell who came up with the theory of Season 6B, although the Sixties TV Comic actually got there first with a series of stories set between The War Games and Spearhead from Space.

          MY understanding was that Robert Holmes was retconning his own vision of the Time Lords into the Second Doctor era without regard to continuity.

          • Merast  December 1, 2012

            If i remember right, he regenerated because the Time Lords sent a small army of animated scarecrows after him. Fancy that, Worzel Gummidge killed his previous incarnation!

          • John  December 1, 2012

            Holmes (and others) came up with it and he intentionally included the continuity errors; unless he’s lying. 🙂


          • John Miller  December 1, 2012

            This is getting seriously off-topic, but he didn’t mean “Season 6B” by that. He meant that from before “An Unearthly Child” up to “The War Games” the Time Lords(or at least the CIA) actually had a degree of control over the TARDIS, and it was by design more than accident that the Doctor just happened to land on planets such as Skaro(The Daleks), Telos(Tomb Of The Cybermen), and all the rest. Here’s a link to Holmes’ own novelisation(you only need to read the first chapter):


            There are also archived web discussions from c 1995-2005 where people discuss “Cornell’s” theory. Lastly, when Dicks wrote “World Game” in 2005, magazines such as SFX, Starburst and Dreamwatch mentioned how Dicks had been fascinated by this “fringe fan theory”. Today the BBC has a Seasom 6B article on its Doctor Who website.

            The main thing is that Season 22 was Colin Baker’s Season, so the show had to be made to fit his Doctor. Just like if Paul Mcgann IS in the 50th anniversary, the show must not be about him or the Time War. it must be a Matt Smith story. Tom Baker failed to realise that in the past.

            And that’s all I have to say about Season 6B.

        • Anonymous  December 1, 2012

          I think we are in agreement, so no arguments from me 🙂

    • Nick Mays  December 3, 2012

      In my more fannish moments, am happy to subscribe to the “Season 6B” explanation for the “continuity errors” and the Second Doctor’s older appearance in ‘The Two Doctors’. However, it’s still disappointing to reflect that at the time of writing and broadcast, it was simply sloppy production and scrip editing plus the wardrobe department forgetting Troughton’s ‘Beatle’ wig that caused all the confusion.

      • Frankymole  December 3, 2012

        Troughton didn’t wear wig after his first 2 or 3 stories… The Five Doctors had his hair dyed but not (as he wished) “bouffed up”, in its old style… the Two Doctors had the combed-back hair but Troughton didn’t want it dyed hence the grey. Seems fair enough as Pertwee went pure white in Five Doctors (he was never pure white in the 70s, even in his last stories!).

        • Nick Mays  December 3, 2012

          Then again, I suppose we should factor in the Moff’s “Time Differential” where a former (or younger?) incarnation of the Doctor crosses Time Lines with a later incarnation and thus appears older, as the Fifth Doctor did when he crossed timelines with the Tenth in ‘Time Crash’.

          I suppose that individual incarnations can age in their own ‘real time’ too – after all, the first Doctor certainly looked old – and their appearance due to ageing (or how they style their hair) probably doesn’t bother them over much.

          This also beggars the question of whether the Doctor cuts his hair (or has a machine in the Tardis that does it) or tries out new hairstyles. After all, the Fifth Doctor went from longish hair and natty sideburns to severe short back and sides between his second and third seasons. (And yes, I KNOW in real life it was due to Davison filming ‘All Creatures Great and Small” Xmas Special). Possibly Kamelion turned into a Ronson Hair Trimmer [TM].

          I seem to recall in one of the early Virgin New Adventures that Ace ponders the Doctor’s need not to shave! Maybe Time Lords can keep their hair in place due to a mini-regenerative process? I wonder if Time Ladies can use this ability for decorative purposes? ;o)

          Oh jeeez, when you start trying to rationalise this sort of thing…

          • Andrew Bowman  December 3, 2012

            You mean Romana had a vajazzle!? Wow! ;D

          • Nick Mays  December 3, 2012

            Ding! Well spotted that man! ;o)

          • encyclops  December 3, 2012

            I keep thinking of Anne Rice’s vampires, who can cut their hair every night if they want but will still see it grow out to where it was when they died.

  20. Jazza1971  December 1, 2012

    I do love this story, and you have provided a great review. Thanks.

  21. John Miller  December 1, 2012

    ”Jacqueline Pearce appears as an Androgum named Chessene.

    Sue: Is she famous?

    Me: That’s Servalan.

    Sue: Who?

    Nicol: Who?”

    Cue collective GASP.

    • Nick Mays  December 4, 2012

      Totally overrated actress IMHO. Yes, reasonably good in the 2nd series of Blake’s Seven but I think she should’ve been killed off definitely and ultimately at the end of the 3rd series when the Liberator broke up, allowing some new Federation nasty to pursue the crew in the (unexpected) Fourth series.

      Pearce’s acting style is way too theatrical and the worst bit for me was when Jamie knocks the gun out of her hand with his dirk. There’s hardly any reaction from Chessene and she WALKS across the time capsule to escape. If there’d just been tighter direction and editing…

      Mind you, any scenes in Blakes 7 that she played opposite Paul Darrow actually worked, because they were both so acTOR-ly and OTT.

      • Frankymole  December 4, 2012

        Check out her two very different starring roles in “Man In A Suitcase” before you write her off. Her second in particular was very moving indeed and she held her own with actors of the quality of Philip Madoc.

        • chris-too-old-to-watch  December 4, 2012

          Saw her once on stage in a very powerful Stoppard: she was brilliant and totally mesmerising….

          • Nick Mays  December 4, 2012

            Okay, fair enough – maybe I haven’t seen enough of her in other roles to make a truly informed comment. But Chessene and Servalan just didn’t cut it for me I’m afraid.

          • Frankymole  December 4, 2012

            You’re right that Blakes 7 did go a bit pantomime in the size of its performances. And I will concede that Chessene wasn’t the high point of her television career (it probably ended it!). I blame the director though… sometimes coming in on time and to budget can neglect other aspects – like giving direction!

  22. Frankymole  December 1, 2012

    “Sue: All the Doctor are worse than yours, Jamie. You just have to get on with it.”

    Here we are. Final confirmation that Sue has impeccable taste. (She must do, anyway, marrying Neil who is the genius who came up with this blog.)

  23. Alisaunder  December 1, 2012

    One theory I’ve tended to believe is that if the Doctor dies of a poison his next incarnation is going to be more erratic and that’s why Colin dresses as he does and acts oddly.

    Spider poison -> Tom Baker.
    More poison -> Colin Baker
    Radiation Poisoning -> Matt Smith

    Not sure why, and its probably just a coincidence anyway. But I’ll always be grateful that Troughton got to come back one more time.

    • Merast  December 1, 2012

      Makes sense, after all a blood transfusion may have led to a half-human Doctor….but let’s not go there :-O

      • Polarity Reversed  December 1, 2012

        And …

        Punished for irresponsible gadding about -> Pertwee.
        Forced to accept a position of responsibility as penance.

        Falling from a great height -> Davison.
        Always thought there was something palpably vertiginous about Peter the Prefect’s persona.

        I suppose the Ecclestone to Tennant change was fundamentally a form of poisoning too, resulting in redemption and laying to rest of war demons. Oh, and caught a dose of gurning mockney from Rose into the bargain.

      • DPC  December 1, 2012

        Robert Holmes probably got the idea from vampirism; a vampire biting into a human and putting in his DNA renders the victim a vampire as well… I can fathom of more conventional methods to transfer DNA, but that’s not important right now… but let’s be thankful nobody went down THAT road in 1985… 😮

      • encyclops  December 1, 2012

        Merast: I love it. You might have redeemed that bit for me…almost. 🙂

        Alisaunder: I think it was radiation (or “blue crystal energy”) poisoning leading to Tom, not spider poison. Same difference, though, I suppose.

  24. jon  December 1, 2012

    Other than the fact it had the 2nd doctor and Jamie in it, I found this story utterly unmemorable, like all of the 6th doctor’s tenure

  25. Tempusfugit (the Spanish whovian)  December 1, 2012

    They hear a strange growling sound…
    Sue: That’s you every morning, Neil.

    I’ll explain later

    About this episode, I was glad to have a bit Troughton back when I saw it, I missed him.
    I was a bit weirded out with the doña Arana accent (she wasn’t real Spanish, she just had fake Spanish accent), at least, Anita has a real Spanish accent

    Sue: Don’t worry, love. You’re quids in now. Or pesetas. Whatever.

    Good ol’ pesetas

    BTW, I’m doing my way trough big finish now (and I’m proud of myself to be able to understand almost everything, my English level is improving big time thanks to doctor who) and colin in great on those, he softens a lot

  26. John G  December 1, 2012

    “Yeah, and I bet he killed the radio star as well.”

    Sue’s right, there is something rather uncanny about the resemblance between Dastari and Trevor Horn! I have to part company with her, however, when it comes to assessing the merits of this story. The Two Doctors for me is overlong, tedious and interspersed with random acts of violence which don’t really feel justified by the context. Oscar’s murder is the worst example, a completely gratuitous and unnecessary moment which is made even worse by the inexplicable decision to play it for laughs. It feels to me as if Holmes, perhaps frustrated at the shopping list imposed on him, lapses into self-indulgence as a compensation, and is not reined in by a starstruck Script Editor. As Sue says, the Spanish location is completely wasted, and the Sontarans are a shadow of their former selves. The return of Troughton and Hines is welcome, and Jamie works surprisingly well with the sixth Doctor and Peri, but I do think Pat is wasted to a certain degree, as the second Doctor spends much of the story either tied up or Androgummed, and not enough in the thick of the action. It’s a great shame his Doctor Who swansong was not a story more worthy of his talents.

    Thanks for showing Sue A Fix with Sontarans, her reactions were hilarious! Does anyone know why Nicola wasn’t involved in it? I bet she’s glad now that she wasn’t…

    • encyclops  December 1, 2012

      I’ve heard people say that before, but never got the feeling Oscar’s death was played for laughs. It seemed like a necessary step to get from the comedy of the argument over the bill back to Shockeye’s villainy. I can’t really imagine the story without it, and though the dialogue at that point is a little corny I never found it comic.

      But self-indulgent: yes, it all is. I’m glad of it.

      • John G  December 2, 2012

        “I can’t really imagine the story without it, and though the dialogue at that point is a little corny I never found it comic.”

        These things are in the eye of the beholder, I suppose. I think the problem may come down to poor direction, lending the scene an ambiguous tone which different people interpret in different ways.

        • Andrew Bowman  December 2, 2012

          It’s quite telling that on the commentary for this, Peter Moffatt does seem slightly unsure of what was going on. Not the greatest technical director, for sure, but he delivered a complex story on an economic budget. No one ever strives to deliver substandard work, but various things did conspire against him, such as not being able to have the extras in the restaurant scream and run about during Oscar’s demise. If the supporting artists would have been allowed to react naturally, then that scene would be better received today, I’m sure.

    • Andrew Bowman  December 2, 2012

      I believe that the divine Ms. Bryant was unavailable, that’s all. I seem to remember reading somewhere that Janet Fielding was drafted in as a replacement companion because of that. In fairness, it does seem a shame that, after all the continuity involved (Tegan returning due to a malfunctioning TARDIS; references to regeneration etc.) that this isn’t considered a bona fide slice of Who, Jimmy Savile’s appearance at the end notwithstanding. I suppose that JF is playing Tegan a little bit for laughs, but Gareth Jenkins does an admirable job, and I quite like the fact that the two Sontarans are called Nathan and Turner (although that last fact isn’t stated onscreen). In any case, I still like it.

      The main feature (T2D, for those who can’t keep up) is a brilliant bit of telly: dark humour; nasty bits of business (the rat) that I loved as a kid and still do now; and the brilliant team work of Colin and Patrick (who I’d not long seen in The Box of Delights). The dispatch of Shockeye doesn’t bother me in the slightest, especially when you consider that the Doctor has, over the years, destroyed his enemies with startling frequency. Is it perhaps that Shockeye is humanoid rather than pepperpot shaped that makes his death a bit hard to swallow for some people? I do wonder 🙂

      • DPC  December 2, 2012

        Shockeye’s demise didn’t bother me either. For the reason you’d mentioned, and that it would be impossible to reason with Shockeye.

        I wish the Sontarans were kept to the side or removed, in favor of more Doc2 goodness, though… and the Oscar/Anita scenes came in mostly to segue for the city action, but it was a gorgeous city.

      • Nick Mays  December 3, 2012

        Whilst it may appear -er – shocking that the Doctor uses cyanide to kill Shockeye, let’s not forget that St Tom Baker’s 4th Doctor did the same to Solon in ‘Brain of Morbius’, the only difference being that he didn’t slap a wad of it over Solon’s face. (And he zapped the Sontarans with a matter destructor gun in ‘Invasion Of Time’…)

        • Frankymole  December 3, 2012

          In each case (Solon/Morbius, Invasion of Time, and Dastari) the stakes were the same – the control of all of Time and Space about to go into the hands of madmen.

    • DPC  December 2, 2012

      Given how bad “The Invasion of Time” was, I found the Sontarans to be better in T2D. Having said that, they are wasted in T2D, especially as there are enough strong antagonists to carry the piece. Chessene and Shockeye are compelling, not to mention the Sontarans rob more screen time from Doc2.

      Jamie does indeed work with Peri and Sixie well. Sixie and Peri did need a third to balance things out…

  27. DPC  December 1, 2012

    The disco version of the B7 theme still gives me nightmares… Can’t wait for Sue’s take on “Timelash”, though!!

    I absolutely agree with her; the Sontarans are unneeded (despite their cool theme music). Chessene and Shockeye steal the show.

    Spain is fairly pointless, but I visited Andalusia (Seville) in 1989, so I have a soft spot for the location. New Orleans, remarkable for their cuisine apparently, might have been a better location – as originally intended…

    What’s a DILF? 🙂

    And as much as I like Peri, Tegan’s persona did make more sense for Sixie. Peri was far better suited with the 5th Doctor…

    As always, great reviews which are fun to read – thanks!

    • encyclops  December 1, 2012

      DILF = Dad I’d Like to Kiss on the cheek. 😉

      • DPC  December 2, 2012



  28. Ollie  December 1, 2012

    I like it. I’d also like an edit with only Pat/Frazer scenes for the first 25 minuets in black and white with the Troughton title sequence too please. Fanwank over and out.

    8/10 because it’s a fine black comedy.

  29. Ollie  December 2, 2012

    I like this story so much infact that I spent £35 on an imported from Australia 6 part version VHS 12 years ago.

    I enjoy this blog. Thankyou. x

  30. BWT  December 3, 2012

    You know, I shouldn’t like this but I do. As Sue says, it’s worth it for the Trout (underused though he may be).

  31. Professor Thascales  December 4, 2012

    I think all the black comedy could have worked better if Holmes had been allowed by circumstances to make it as a non-Who related story about human-eating aliens. I find the story much too nasty for Who. (And the Sontarans are badly used in it, even if Holmes created them. And he deliberately (from what I’ve read) gave the finger to continuity.)

    I did like the part where Shockeye and the Androgum-ized 2nd Dr. eat over a thousand dollars (or was it pounds? or pesetas?) worth of food, and asked how he liked it, Shockeye says, “It was edible.” But the murder of Oscar killed the comedy. Maybe if it was done outside the context of Who, Holmes could have done it in a way that sustained the comedy.

    • Nick Mays  December 4, 2012

      I’ve always thought that the killing of Oscar was gratuitous and unnecessary and what with the Extras not being allowed to act/react, the whole scene clunks. It may have been better if Shockeye or the Doctor has swatted Oscar aside. Or maybe he could have been wounded.

      Thing is, we know that,by his very nature, Shockeye is a bastard but the very wrongness is underpinned by the Second Doctor being party to a cold-blooded murder, Androgum-ized though he was.

    • Frankymole  December 4, 2012

      “I think all the black comedy could have worked better if Holmes had been allowed by circumstances to make it as a non-Who related story about human-eating aliens” – yes, the alien aspect of the Androgums obviously didn’t come through, as the BBC was lambasted for showing “cannibalism” at tea-time! Nearly as great a postbag furore as the treatment of leprosy a couple of years earlier. What was JNT thinking??

  32. Alex Wilcock  December 6, 2012

    Sue: Will I have to watch this 6B whatsit?
    I had a terrible fear for a moment there that Ian Levene had chained up some poor actors and made some.

    Sue: What kind of recipe book goes into that kind of detail? Is he reading Rosemary Shrager’s ‘Torturing Animals to Death in 5 Easy Steps’ or something? That’s mad.
    Oscar: I’m not a well man.
    Sue: (as Anita) I know. That is why I’m going out with you. I am waiting for you to have a massive heart attack.

    Those made me laugh. Particularly with what was coming. Glad Sue liked the music, though – I think it’s terrific. Peter Howell’s trying so much harder than anyone else behind the camera here. For me, she’s pretty much on the nail for this, looking at the end review. Encyclops wins, though – both for the fab mini-review, and for the definition of “DILF”. Frazer’s still a bit of a silver fox…

    I do disagree with Sue on Colin, though. I think he’s utterly loveable here and totally steals it – whether it’s Bob Holmes lines or the challenge of another Doctor, I love him to bits here. Especially in the “I am interested in everything” scene, but many others. For me, he just soars given this material: laid-back, funny, intense, gentle, contemplative – above all, constantly interesting to watch.

    Pat, on the other hand, is fab too of course, but has very different material – not least when turned into a Holmesian psychotic comedy double act, which is the most inspired idea for a ‘multi-Doctor’ story. He turns what could be an otherwise dull Part Two into a blatant comedy episode, too.

    • encyclops  December 6, 2012

      Thanks! Huge fan of yours so you’ve made my day. 🙂 And I quite agree with you about Frazer (not to mention pretty much everything else).

      • Alex Wilcock  December 6, 2012

        Wow! Thank you 😀

        Seeing Frazer in person this year, he’s still got it…

        I keep meaning to review The Two Doctors. To mark the start of a diet. But I’m even less productive with dieting than with writing reviews!

      • chris-too-old-to-watch  December 7, 2012

        Once bumped into Frazer in Waterstones Manc after he’d finished a book signing, and was waiting for his car. Spent at least 15 mins chatting with him: certainly one of the most pleasant actors I’ve ever met.