She’s not cried this much since Adric died…
Continuity Announcer: Sue is watching Doctor Who from the very beginning, and after 142 stories, she thinks she’s come out of it rather well. But it isn’t over yet, because her husband Neil has just cued up the next installment, and this one involves an old enemy of the Doctor. No, not that one.
Sue: They should do a recap for every episode. It’s really helpful. Hey, what happened to Robert Holmes?
Me: It’s Philip Martin’s turn to take over for a bit.
Sue: The Gangsters man? That’s OK. He’s pretty good.
Pretty good? Pretty good? PRETTY GOOD?!
The episode begins on the Time Lords’ space station…
Sue: We’re going to see this model shot all the time, aren’t we? They’re getting their money’s worth out of it. You can’t blame them, though. It looks great.
In the courtroom, the Doctor and the Valeyard are fighting for the Inquisitor’s affections…
Sue: They both want to shag her in her chambers. It’s written all over their faces.
The next section of evidence takes place on the planet Thoros Beta…
Sue: Ashes to ashes, funk to funky, we know Major Tom’s a junkie…
Once she’s got that out of her system:
Sue: It’s an interesting effect. They are definitely pushing the boat out. Speaking of which, park the TARDIS closer to the beach, you idiot! Hang on a minute… is it just me or are they using the wrong door on the TARDIS? I thought they always opened the door on the right, but now they’re opening the door on the left. That can’t be right, can it?
Me: Remind me to introduce you to Gallifrey Base when this is all over.
The Doctor and Peri have arrived on Thoros Beta in search of gun runners. They are acting on information given to them by a “dirty old Warlord”.
Sue: Peri never gets a break. It’s as if her life is one big sexual harassment case.
When the Doctor and Peri walk across the alien beach, Sue has second thoughts about the paintbox effect.
Sue: The fringing is even worse than some 1970s CSO we’ve seen. I bet this is what a LSD trip looks like. I hope the whole thing isn’t like this. I don’t think my eyes could take it.
But it’s not all bad news:
Sue: I’m just happy to see the Doctor and Peri smiling and being mates. I’m glad the last story wasn’t just a one-off.
The Doctor and Peri find a cave, but once inside, they are immediately attacked by a homicidal creature called the Raak.
Sue: That was completely out of the blue. The director isn’t showing very much of this thing. Clever director.
The Doctor accidentally kills the creature but the Valeyard isn’t interested in his excuses.
Sue: He’s done much worse than that. He’s shot plenty of things on purpose, why not show that instead?
Meanwhile, on an operating table somewhere…
Sue: Oh, it’s him. Brian somebody… It’s on the tip of my tongue…
Me: GORDON’S ALIVE!
Sue: Brian Gordon?
Me: For ****’s sake, Susan, it’s Brian Blessed.
Sue: Of course it is. Sorry, it’s been a long day. Some of us have real jobs, you know.
The Doctor and Peri employ the skiddaddle technique to escape from Thoros Beta’s security forces.
Sue: Running away like that just makes you look guilty, you do know that, don’t you?
During their escape, the Doctor and Peri encounter a man with the face of a dog.
Sue: The makeup is fabulous, especially the teeth. I hope the actor didn’t get lockjaw trying to keep them in.
Thankfully, this dog’s bark is much worse than its bite.
Sue: Awwww. He’s cute. Take him with you. He could be a scarier version of K9. But if he starts humping Peri’s leg, he’s out.
The Doctor promises to return for the poor, unfortunate beast later.
Sue: If he was a werecat, the Doctor wouldn’t have left him like that. It is OK to love dogs and cats, you know.
Suddenly, the Doctor and Peri catch a glimpse of Sil, the Mentor from Vengeance on Varos.
Sue: Oh, I like him. He’s funny.
Peri can’t believe the Doctor has brought her to a sex pest’s doorstep.
Peri: I want out, and I mean it.
Sue: Oooh… Is Peri going to leave? It’s never a good sign when companions start banging on about going home.
The Valeyard asks the court to consider a damning statistic:
Valeyard: I have calculated on a random Matrix sample that the Doctor’s companions have been placed in danger twice as often as the Doctor.
Sue: Is that all? I’d put it closer to five times as often, especially if you include being lusted after by sex pests.
Sil and a fellow Mentor named Kiv discuss King Yrcanos’ condition…
Sue: Are they sleeping in the same bed? It looks to me like they’re topping and tailing. Who’s playing the alien on the right? His voice is very familiar.
Me: It’s Mike from The Young Ones. He comes back as a Sontaran in the new series.
Sue: Once again, the guest cast are very good. Who’s she? Her face rings a bell.
Me: That’s Albie Parsons. She was in Gangsters.
Sue: Of course she was. Why am I not surprised? Still, it’s good to see speaking parts for black actors. You don’t see it enough in Doctor Who, even in the eighties. Plus, it helps take my mind off all the black slaves in the background. What’s that all about?
The Doctor and Peri are poking around the operating room when they are discovered by Sil. The Doctor is forced to wear a helmet that can mess with your brain, and the episode concludes with the Doctor screaming in agony.
Me: You’re not saying very much.
Sue: There isn’t very much to say. It’s alright – I’ve seen a lot worse – but it isn’t half taking its time.top
The Doctor’s screams are so loud, they wake King Yrcanos on the operating table next to him. The Warlord breaks free and trashes the place.
Sue: Brian Blessed throws like a girl!
Yrcanos storms off, but not before he puts his hat on.
Sue: Is that a fireman’s helmet?
Me: I think it’s supposed to show that he’s an alien version of a samurai warrior.
Sue: Well, he’s never going to be a ****ing ninja, is he?
Yrcanos plans to fight back against the Mentors.
Sue: It’s a very subtle performance. Is Brian still alive?
Me: Yes, BRIAN’S ALIVE!
Sue: Then why isn’t he in Game of Thrones?
Yrcanos: Rrrrrrrsssssssss! I am Yrcanos, King of the Krontep, Lord of the Vingten, Conqueror of the Tonkonp Empire.
Sue: Is he making it up as he goes along?
Me: What do you think of his performance?
Sue: He’s Brian Blessed. How can you not love Brian Blessed?
The Doctor slumps against a wall, completely ga-ga.
Sue: He looks like a ventriloquist’s dummy sitting there like that. Still, if Brian is doing all the talking in a scene, it’s probably better if you can just sit it out.
Back in the courtroom, the Doctor claims that he can’t remember these events…
Sue: Of course you don’t remember, you’ve just have your brain ****ed with. We saw that less than five minutes ago.
Inquisitor: Your mind has cleared from being taken out of time?
The Doctor: As far as I can tell.
Inquisitor: Then obviously there must be some other reason.
Sue: Yes! The mind helmet thingy! Are Time Lords supposed to be thick?
Kiv is suffering from terrible headaches and he has employed a mad scientist named Crozier to fix him.
Sue: He’s very funny.
Me: Did you watch The Young Ones?
Sue: Yes, but I thought it was silly. I didn’t get it. In fact, I barely remember the one called Mike. Was he the short one?
Me: How did you guess?
Sue: I really like this story’s design. The structure of this place is very believable. The chairs are excellent – the metalwork is beautiful, which is a nice change of pace.
The Doctor shouts “Weapons!” at the top of his voice.
Sue: Colin is trying to compete with Brian. He’s wasting his time. I bet the sound department had a nightmare on this story. God, can you imagine it?
The Doctor betrays Peri and Yrcanos to save his own bacon.
Sue: I can’t tell if he’s making it up or not. You can believe it with this Doctor. He’s been a **** before.
Yrcanos learns that his old friend has been turned into a dog.
Yrcanos: Dorf? My equerry Dorf?
Sue: What kind of name is that for a pet? Hickory Dorf?
Me: No, his squire has been turned into a dog, you idiot.
Sue: I’ll idiot you in a minute. How am I supposed to know? Brian’s making up half the words as he goes along.
Despite being a dog, Dorf still has a very special bond with his king.
Sue: He’s definitely that man’s best friend.
And then Sue says something I thought I’d never hear her say: she praises Ron Jones’ direction.
Sue: It’s nicely direction, this. The lighting is excellent.
Peri is accidentally recruited as a slave…
Sue: Is she joining a harem? Why doesn’t that surprise me?
Yrcanos adds THE DOCTOR! to the list of people he wants to kill.
Sue: He’s really giving it some welly. It’s impossible not to root for him.
Me: It’s been suggested that Brian would have been a good Doctor.
Sue: Really? He’d have been… interesting. He could pick Daleks up and toss them aside, which would be different, I suppose. I’m not sure if I could take him for more than an hour, though.
A veiled Peri is forced to serve drinks to the bad guys. Like Sue says, it could have been a lot worse.
Sue: She looks like she’s playing the princess in Aladdin. You know how they were always doing pantomimes when they were making Doctor Who back then? Well, did they share the costumes with the panto to save some money?
The Doctor cruelly unmasks Peri. She is taken to the Sea of Sorrows and chained to some rocks so her “friend” can interrogate her further.
Sue: Has he really turned to the dark side? I’m confused.
Me: So was Colin Baker.
On his way back to the Mentors, the Doctor is intercepted by Yrcanos.
Yrcanos: Now, Doctor, it is your turn to die.
Sue: Go on! Kill him!top
Sue: I’ve just thought of something.
Excellent. I can’t wait to hear Sue’s theory about how the Matrix works…
Sue: There can’t be any wind on Gallifrey. If there was, you never would have invented a head-dress like that.
It’s business as usual as we reach the halfway point of the trial. And by that I mean Brian Blessed is spitting bits of the set over everyone.
Sue: Didn’t anyone have the nerve to tell Brian to tone it down just a bit? Then again, it is Brian Blessed so what did they expect? It’s a very entertaining performance.
Yrcanos, Dorf and Peri decide to take a rest from a hard day’s avenging. As they sit down, Dorf whimpers.
Peri: He sounds hungry.
Sue: He has a name, you know. A really stupid one, I know, but he can understand every single word you’re saying. Stop talking about him as if he’s stupid.
Don’t worry, Peri, Sue says this about our dog as well.
Despite Peri’s treatment of Dorf, he is still very taken with her.
Sue: He so wants her to tickle his belly. Still, you could probably say that about every man Peri meets.
Yrcanos and Dorf fight for Peri’s affection.
Sue: Does she really think standing between them while she thrusts her breasts out like that is a wise move? Are you sure the Matrix can’t lie? Because that was mental.
Sil tempts the Doctor with a lesson in economics.
Sue: He’s great. Even his tongue is green. That’s how into this part he is. He’s got an amazingly fast tongue.
Me: He’s be a great trumpeter.
Sue: Amongst other things.
Peri, Yrcanos and Dorf are attacked by Alphan rebels.
Sue: They’ve been captured by a Peruvian pan pipe band. You couldn’t move for pan pipes in the eighties. It was horrible.
Meanwhile, Kiv has a cardiac arrest and Crozier has perform CPR on him…
Sue: I love the way he finished his cup of tea before he saved his life. That was very funny. It’s a bit weird, this, but very entertaining.
The Doctor and Sil are debating stocks and shares when Sue notices something vitally important:
Sue: The back of the Doctor’s coat needs a good shave.
Peri convinces the pan pipe band to let them go and they team up to take down the Mentors.
Yrcanos: This is a great day for battle. A great day to die!
Tuza: Does he always go on like that?
Peri: Afraid so.
Sue: (in an American accent) What can I say? He’s Brian Blessed.
Kiv’s new body has been stabilised, but he will still require another operation soon.
Sue: Why can’t he just stay in that body? What’s wrong with it? Is it cos he’s beige?
As they make their way through the caves, the lead pan piper, Tuza, keeps tripping over the bodies of his friends.
Tuza: It’s Verne!
Sue: Who the **** is Verne?
Back in the courtroom, the Doctor objects.
Sue: He wants to know who Verne is.
The Doctor refuses to take responsibility for Verne’s death. Poor Verne.
Sue: The courtroom scenes are starting to get on my tits. I don’t mind them when they shed new light on things, but that last one was just padding.
It’s taken her seven episodes to get to this point. A new record, perhaps?
Yrcanos, Dorf, Tuza and Peri are shot down by Frax.
Sue: Peri isn’t dead. They can’t kill Peri.
Back in the courtroom, the Doctor objects again…
The Doctor: I am not responsible for that!
Crash zoom on Colin’s face. Roll credits.
Sue: What a stupid cliffhanger. You finish with Peri lying on the floor. Idiots.top
Peri isn’t really dead. Of course she isn’t.
Inquisitor: Then what was the point of showing that last sequence?
Sue: It’s called a cliffhanger, ma’am. We have to have one every 25-minutes. It’s the law.
Frax wants his keep his prisoners alive so the Mentors can experiment on them.
Sue: The only thing that lets this down are the costumes. He looks like he’s come dressed as Buttons. Are you sure they haven’t done a deal with a pantomime?
Peri can’t wait to return to Earth.
Sue: Oh dear. There she goes again. She’ll be off soon. I hope she makes it home. I won’t be very happy if she has to settle down with a sex pest.
Peri tries to explain what love is to Yrcanos.
Sue: It’s the same feelings you have for your dog, only less intense.
Yrcanos can’t wait to reach the afterlife, mainly so he can start fighting again.
Sue: That was very funny. What a lovely scene.
The Doctor examines Tuza who has been placed in an implantation cubicle.
Sue: I hope they can implant some acting talent into him. He’s terrible.
The Doctor has to get past a Mentor if he wants to speak with Yrcanos.
Sue: That’s the kind of job I want, one where you can just chill out next to a jacuzzi all day.
The Doctor still acting strangely.
Sue: So is he good or bad?
Me: I don’t know.
Sue: What do you mean, you don’t know?
Crozier decides to transfer Kiv’s brain into Peri’s body.
Sue: Do you think he’ll be happy with a compulsory sex change? He should probably check, just to be on the safe side.
The Doctor turns on Frax and Yrcanos forces the guard into his own cell.
Sue: I love the doors in this story.
Me: Colin found the invoice for that door lying around on the set, and he took great pleasure in telling Nicola that it cost more money than she did.
Sue: It was worth it. It’s a bloody good door.
Sil and Kiv find the time to conduct some business with an alien ambassador.
Sue: That is one happy alien. Look at that grin!
Yrcanos desperately wants to save his bride to be.
Sue: To be fair, he is the nicest sex pest so far.
The Doctor and Yrcanos return to the Induction Centre.
Sue: I love this set. It looks like they got their hands on one of Pink Floyd’s lighting rigs.
Sue: This is very funny. As long as you treat this as a comedy, it’s great.
In the next scene, Peri is killed. In the scene after that, Dorf is put down. It’s hilarious!
Sue: He’s gone to doggy heaven.
Peri is lying on an operating table. A helmet has been attached to her head and, more importantly, her hair is nowhere to be seen.
Sue: No way!
Me: Yes way.
Sue: So Peri is bald now? That’s a very brave thing to do. Sinead O’Connor isn’t around for ages.
The Alphan slaves are freed but they aren’t much use…
Sue: This is no time to be dancing!
The Doctor is racing to save Peri when the TARDIS suddenly appears in a corridor. He walks into it backwards.
Sue: What the…?
This is the point where the Doctor was taken out of time to stand trial. The Inquisitor tells the Doctor to watch and learn.
I glance at Sue. She looks genuinely worried.
Crozier tells us that Peri’s consciousness has been erased. She no longer exists.
Sue looks even more worried.
The Time Lords trap Yrcanos in a time bubble. They intend to use him as an assassin.
Sue: The ****ing hypocrites! They’ve put the Doctor on trial for less than that! Unbelievable.
Peri/Kiv: My body is warm. Wonderful. Legs. Toes. Toes wiggling. Trunk. A neck. Strong. A head free of pain. Eyesight. Colours. Warm blood inside. Oh, I like this.
Sue: Wait until you see your new breasts. All your Christmases have come at once, mate.
Crozier welcomes Kiv to his/her new body.
Sue: That was Nicola’s best performance so far. Brilliant. And very, very scary.
The Time Lord’s let Yrcanos off his leash.
Sue: It’s like that bit in Call of Duty where you’re brainwashed into killing somebody nice. I’m sure it’ll be fine. They’ll change Peri back again. The Time Lords can fix it.
Yrcanos fires his weapon.
Sue: No way!
The Doctor can’t believe it, either.
Valeyard: Peri died, Doctor, because you abandoned her.
Sue: No he didn’t, you kidnapped him. He would have saved her if you hadn’t stuck your oar in.
The credits roll.
Sue: Wow. Not only did the Doctor fail to save her, he was a **** to her in her last story. That was harsh.top
The Final Score
Sue: Well, I definitely didn’t expect that. Fantastic way to go, though. That was even better than Adric. I was going to give it 7/10 – mainly because I love the green fella and Brian Blessed, and it looked great – but the shock ending bumps it up to an 8.
Sue: If you could put anybody’s brain in my body, who would you choose?
Me: Andrew Pixley.
Sue: I don’t even know who that is.
Me: My point exactly. But seriously, love, I wouldn’t change a thing.
The experiment continues…
We’ve almost reached the end of another era and I’ll be posting Sue’s appraisal of Colin Baker’s time as the Doctor on Christmas Eve (consider it a small gift during this season of goodwill, aka December).
If you have a question you would like to ask Sue about this phase of the experiment, please send them via this form before Saturday 22nd December. I’ll put the best 10 questions to the wife and the very best one (chosen by Sue) will win something nice and non-specific.
Please don’t post your questions on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments section of this blog as I’ll only be considering questions posted via that form. It’s the only way I’ll be able to keep track of them. Many thanks.
Next update due: Thursday 20th December.
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