PARADISE TOWERS

Part One

Sue: I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this title sequence. Why does the Doctor have a silver face? I don’t get that at all.
Me: They painted McCoy’s face silver when they took the photograph, even though they needn’t have bothered because they could have done it in post-production.
Sue: I really wish you hadn’t told me that. I hate it even more now.

We open on a drab corridor where a girl is cowering next to a wall. And then the incidental music kicks in.

Sue: Keffing hell. Not again!

Meanwhile, on the TARDIS, Mel and the Doctor decide to visit Paradise Towers. Mel wants to go swimming there, but the Doctor has other ideas.

The Doctor: Paradise Towers is supposed to be a remarkable architectural achievement, I’m told. Won all sorts of awards way back in the 21st century.
Sue: Ooh, is this story about architecture?
Mel: I can’t wait.
Sue: Neither can I.

The TARDIS materialises inside Paradise Towers.

Paradise TowersSue: What a dump. I can smell the piss from here.

The Doctor and Mel decide to explore.

Sue: There’s some nice camera movement in this scene. The direction is pretty good. I have a much better feeling about this story than I did the last one.

As the Doctor and Mel discuss their next move, a crossbow bolt embeds itself in the wall behind them.

Sue: I could murder a pint of cider.

The Caretakers stalk the corridors in their black leather uniforms.

Sue: Gary would love this story. Just saying.

The Doctor and Mel are surrounded by Red Kangs. Blue Kangs and Yellow Kangs are also known to exist in Paradise Towers.

Sue: Are there any Khaki Kangs? I want some Khaki Kangs.

One of the Red Kangs introduces herself as Bin Liner. Another Kang calls herself Fire Escape.

Sue: Okay, I think I understand what’s happening here. It’s basically Mad Max meets a run-down council estate. I like the idea. It’s got potential.

Paradise TowersThe Kangs perform a welcoming ritual which the Doctor then has to repeat.

Sue: (Singing) Price Charming! Prince Charming! Ridicule is nothing to be scared of.
Me: A good job too, given what he’s been asked to do.

The Red Kangs aren’t impressed with Mel.

Sue: Amazingly, and for the first time in her life, Bonnie Langford’s hair isn’t red enough.

In another corridor, a teenage girl with blue hair is crouching in the dark.

Sue: Is she a Blue Kang?
Me: Nothing gets past you, dear.

And then a robotic Cleaner appears.

Paradise TowersSue: This is horrific.
Me: It’s only a plastic robot. It’s not that scary, is it?
Sue: No, I’m talking about the music! Keffing hell!

The Kangs bring the Doctor and Mel up to speed with the history of Paradise Towers.

Sue: I like some the ideas behind this. It just a shame it looks so cheap. It looks like a fan video.
Me: Yes, it is a bit Dramarama.
Sue: Meets Bananarama.

Meanwhile, one of the Caretakers is terrified by a Cleaner.

Sue: How could you possibly be scared of that?

It’s so rubbish, the Caretaker has to help the robot out when it tries to kill him.

Sue: Hang on, let me put my neck in your claw. There, that fits nicely, thanks. Good grief!

The Kangs have a motto.

Bin Liner: Build high for happiness.
Sue: I’d rather get high for happiness, thanks.

Paradise TowersMel manages to escape from the Kangs and she finds sanctuary in a flat which belongs to a pair of elderly ladies – Tilda and Tabby.

Sue: You didn’t tell me that The League of Gentlemen were in this.

As Tilda and Tabby make Mel feel at home, Sue drops a bombshell:

Sue: This is ****ing brilliant.
Tabby: Mel’s not at all like a Kang. She’s a nice, polite, clean, well spoken girl. Just the sort we like.
Sue: I love the subtext.
Tilda: We’re the Rezzies.
Sue: Did she just say “We’re the Lezzies?”
Me: Rezzies. As in residents.
Sue: I’m not convinced.

She is convinced about something, though:

Paradise TowersSue: This is a black comedy. Now that I’ve accepted that, I have to say, this episode is very, very funny.

And she has a theory, too:

Sue: Okay, so in this tower block, all the girls are lesbians and all the men are gay, right? So it will be the end of civilisation unless they can sort out their differences and organise a surrogacy programme.

A man barges into Tilda and Tabby’s flat. His name is Pex.

Sue: What the hell? Who’s he supposed to be?
Me: He’s Paradise Tower’s version of Judge Dredd.
Sue: I knew this reminded me of something else. It’s not as good as The Raid, though.

And then Sue gets her first look at the Chief Caretaker.

Paradise TowersSue: I’ll get you, Butler!
Me: That was uncanny, Sue. But it’s Richard Briers.
Sue: So it is. That means I was right – this is supposed to be funny.

The episode ends with the following exchange:

Chief: This is the Great Architect returned to Paradise Towers. Bid him welcome. All Hail the Great Architect, all hail!
Deputy: What shall we do with him now then, Chief?
Chief: Kill him.
Sue: That’s one of the best cliffhangers I’ve ever seen in this programme. It’s not often that I get to laugh at the end of an episode. I’m loving this.

 

Part Two

The Doctor’s execution has to be postponed when one of the Caretakers is killed.

Chief: An unfortunate accident has happened to Caretaker number 345. I am required by the rulebook to go and investigate. The 327 appendix 3 subsection 9 death will be postponed till I return.
Sue: This reminds me of something else. Something you made me watch quite recently. It was quite good.
Me: Brazil?
Sue: That’s the one. I keep expecting Robert DeNiro to come crashing through a window.
Me: You can safely assume that will never happen.
Sue: I really like this but when Pex is in a scene with Bonnie Langford, I can’t take it seriously any more.

The Doctor is held prisoner in the Caretakers’ HQ.

Paradise TowersSue: It’s relentless, wall-to-wall music. Does this scene really need Sade’s cover version of the Doctor Who theme all over it?
Me: (Singing) Smooth operator, he’s a smooooooth.
Sue: ARGH! Please make it stop!

The Doctor uses the Caretakers’ own rule book against them.

Sue: I like Sylvester McCoy a lot. He’s got potential. He’s actually playing the Doctor now – I don’t know what he was doing in the last one. And he reminds me of Patrick Troughton a lot.

Pex tries to convince Mel that he’s a finely tuned fighting machine.

Sue: Why is there a mushroom tattooed on his neck? And why did they cast this guy? It needed someone like Bruce Willis, not Frank Spencer.

Back at Tilda and Tabby’s.

Sue: Elderly lesbian cannibals. What a great spin-off that would have been.

They appear to be eating a roasted rat.

Sue: Their food chain is even more ****ed up than ours.

And then…

Paradise TowersSue: Jesus! How many times can you murder the Doctor Who theme music in 25 minutes? Give it a rest, please!

The Cleaners attack the Doctor, but he manages to evade them.

Sue: Even the robots have limp wrists in this.

The Doctor finds himself in the Red Kangs’ HQ.

Me: Do you like the way the Doctor rolls his Rs?
Sue: I don’t know, I’ll pay more attention to him the next time he’s walking.

The Doctor shows the Kangs how to operate a fizzy drink machine.

Sue: So, instead of giving them the secret of fire, he’s given them the secret of Lucozade?

Meanwhile, the Chief Caretaker heads to the basement to check on his ‘pet’.

Chief: Daddy’s always made sure you get a good supply of what you need. Daddy’s the Chief Caretaker.
Sue: Just when I thought this couldn’t get any weirder, this happens. It’s completely ****ed up. But in a good way.

Pex tries to convince the Blue Kangs that he’s brave.

Sue: I keep expecting this guy to break out into song. I can’t help it.

Meanwhile, the Rezzies have decided to place Mel on their menu.

Sue: But there isn’t an ounce of meat on her! You’d get more protein out of a rat.

Paradise TowersMeanwhile, the Doctor has riled up the Red Kangs.

Sue: This is what happens when you give teenagers a sugar rush. Bedlam.

The episode concludes with Mel about to be spit-roasted.

Sue: Wow. That was grim. I’m still enjoying this, though. It’s mental.

 

Part Three

Me: Would you like to watch this episode with different incidental music?
Sue: I have a choice?
Me: Well, yes.
Sue: I had a choice and you didn’t tell me? Of course I want to listen to it. DO IT!

I press ‘Play’.

Sue: It’s exactly the same.
Me: They didn’t change the title music.
Sue: Oh. So, is Paradise Towers supposed to be in Paradise City, you know, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty?
Me: Is that a trick question?

When David Snell’s alternate score begins, Sue feels right at home.

Sue: It’s very Dudley-esque.

Paradise TowersTilda approaches Mel with a carving knife.

Sue: NOT FOR KIDS!

And that’s when Tabby is dragged into the waste disposal chute by a robotic claw.

Sue: Wait a minute… How did they fit her through that hole? That breaks all the laws of physics!
Me: Do you prefer the new music?
Sue: Well, it’s more farty than disco. I’m not sure, actually.

When Mel shows Pex the plans to Paradise Towers, Sue draws parallels with another high-rise adventure from the late eighties.

Sue: Yippee-kay-ay-mother****er! Or in his case, Whoopsie-daisy-Betty!

Paradise TowersThe Doctor interrogates the Chief Caretaker.

Sue: I like McCoy a lot. This is more like it. He’s really good.

The Chief gives his Deputy one more chance not to cock things up.

Sue: If he was working for Darth Vader, he’d be dead by now.

The Doctor passes the time watching a promotional video for Paradise Towers.

Sue: It’s quite political, this. I’m sure social housing scandals were big news back then. This isn’t as daft as it looks. The idea behind it is really strong. They could do something like this today, no bother.

The Chief Caretaker is investigating Tabby and Tilda’s empty flat when he is interrupted by another Rezzie named Maddy. He bribes her to keep quiet.

Sue: It’s a brilliant performance from Richard Briers: entertaining, funny, but still frightening.

Paradise TowersMeanwhile, Mel and Pex are trapped in a lift.

Sue: Whenever these two are together, I’m sorry, but the whole thing falls apart. These scenes are unbearable.

The Red Kangs take care of the Doctor.

The Doctor: Thank you, Fire Escape.
Sue: I love their names. Is there a Kang called Condom Machine?

The Red Kangs and the Blue Kangs decide to join forces.

Sue: The Purple Kangs!

Paradise TowersMel and Pex finally reach the Tower’s rooftop swimming pool.

Mel: I just don’t believe it! I really don’t.
Sue: Yeah, it’s rubbish, isn’t it? I thought it would be a lot swisher than that. I’ve seen better designed swimming pools in a Travelodge.

Mel is looking forward to a nice, relaxing swim.

Sue: Right, so with everything that’s going on, she’s going to have a swim? For ****’s sake.

The Chief Caretaker is brought before the evil Kroagnon. It looks like his time is up.

Sue: Oh, I really liked him.

And then, just as the episode ends with a rather lame cliffhanger:

Paradise TowersSue: Can we switch back to Keff’s music, please?
Me: WHAT?
Sue: It suits the story more. This music is far too serious. The music should be wacky and silly for a story like this. Keff’s works better.

She never ceases to surprise me.

 

Part Four

Paradise TowersMe: We have reached a very important milestone.
Sue: We have?
Me: Not only is this our 650th episode, we are about to beat Steve Schapansky!
Sue: That’s nice. Who’s Steve Schapansky?
Me: He’s a Canadian podcaster from Radio Free Skaro. A couple of years ago, he ran a spin-off blog called The Chronic Hysteresis where he watched and reviewed every single episode – including the recons – until he gave up at Paradise Towers Part Three. Can you believe it? All that way and he chucked it in with only a handful of episodes left.
Sue: You must be joking.
Me: I know! Okay, so he’s currently interviewing all my childhood heroes next to a pool in Los Angeles, and yes, he just married the girl of his dreams on Valentine’s Day at a Doctor Who convention. But is he happy? Can he sleep at night when he knows that he didn’t get any further than Paradise Towers Part Three? I doubt it.
Sue: It’s never too late to finish it. He could ask his new wife to join him.
Me: Don’t give him any ideas. We’ve already got that franchise sown up.

Part Four passes without comment until the Chief Caretaker returns as a possessed zombie.

Sue: Well, if you are going to go for it, you may as well really go for it. There’s nothing subtle about this story. That’s why Keff’s music fits.

Pex has a sulk while Mel goes swimming.

Paradise TowersSue: Do you know what my biggest problem with Pex is?
Me: Where do I even begin?
Sue: He reminds me of someone I used to go out with. Before I met you.
Me: I should bloody hope so.
Sue: He’s the spitting double of him. It’s freaking me out a bit.

Mel’s refreshing swim is ruined by a homicidal pool cleaner.

Sue: What was the point of that? I’m starting to lose my patience with this.

The Doctor reaches the pool and Mel introduces him to her new best friend.

Mel: This is Pex.
Sue: (As Mel) He’s even wetter than I am right now.

The Kangs join the pool party.

Sue: I bet this story will end with Pex re-populating the planet with the help of the Kangs. I don’t know why he’s so miserable about it.

It’s because the Kangs are winding Pex up something rotten.

Kangs: He’s a cowardly cutlet! He’s a cowardly cutlet!
Sue: Do you think the writer has ever met a real teenager? They sound like a bunch of nine-year olds high on glucose.

Paradise TowersBut just when all hope seems lost.

Sue: Oh look, the Women’s Institute have turned up to mobilise the local Neighbourhood Watch Scheme. That’ll show ’em.

Meanwhile, the Chief Caretaker/Kroagnon has taken up residence in Paradise Towers’ control room.

Sue: They must have had some silver paint left over when they painted McCoy’s face.
Deputy: I think you may recall that there are certain cases specified when the rulebook can be overridden.
Sue: Like your boss coming into work caked in silver make-up.

The Kangs and the Rezzies have joined together at last.

Fire Escape: Ice hot!
Bin Liner: With explosives and arrogance we can blow up the Cleaners, no problem.
Blue Kang: Send the Cleaners to the Cleaners!
Sue: It’s a bit… innit?
Me: Yeah, it is a bit. Sorry.

The Rezzies attack a Cleaner with a crocheted tablecloth.

Sue: Okay, it’s starting to go a bit tits up, now. The robot would be able to see them under that. And you could just walk up behind it and shoot it in the head anyway. The Daleks would piss themselves laughing if they ever saw this lot.

Pex sacrifices himself to stop Kroagnon, thus saving the day. All the different coloured Kangs unite to mourn his passing.

Paradise TowersSue: Just look at what he could have won.

The Doctor and Mel leave in the TARDIS. Somebody has painted PEX LIVES on an adjacent wall.

Sue: It must have been a bugger to spray paint that in such a tiny gap. Why would you do that? Pick an easier wall!

 

The Score

Sue: It was an episode too long, and I enjoyed the concept more than the execution, but they are trying to do something different and that’s good. McCoy is really growing me but I’m losing my patience with Bonnie Langford. She sets my teeth on edge.

6/10

Sue agreed to watch the behind the scenes documentary that comes on the DVD. I wasn’t sure why until this happened:

Sue: So that’s what my ex-boyfriend looks like now. Interesting.

Aside from this, she spent most of her time agreeing with Andrew Cartmel:

Sue: Its shortcomings are down to a lack of communication. If everybody had pulled their fingers out, it could easily have been an 8.

 

Next Time

Glen is very busy this week but he will return soon. In the meantime, here’s a very special song from the wonderful John Callaghan. “Come on bass, we’ve got work to do!”

An instrumental version is also available. That’s the version we’ll be dancing to when we finish a story from now on

 

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Comments

  1. Robert Dick  February 16, 2013

    Would Sue remember Carmel the mad nanny from Coronation Street?

    BTW I *LOVE* Keff’s music for this story…

    • DPC  February 16, 2013

      Keff’s style is different. Sometimes great, sometimes not-so-great. My only nitpick is when the music doesn’t fit the need of the scene (e.g. too dancy when it needed to be more maudlin…)

      And “different” is good – it’s the only way to experiment and try new things. One otherwise stagnates.

      I preferred his score to “Time and the Rani”, but – especially given the rush job – “Paradise Towers” is passable.

  2. In My Not So Humble Opinion: the Writings and Ramblings of Ben Herman  February 16, 2013

    Paradise Towers is an odd story for me. You see, I read the novelization first, and really enjoyed it. But then, a couple of years later, I finally had the opportunity to watch it when it aired here in the States on the local PBS station, and it really seemed like rubbish to me. So, I think it was a good story, but it was seemingly let down by the budget, the direction and/or the acting, if that makes any sort of sense.

  3. Chris Lindsay  February 16, 2013

    Yay – glad this one went down so well. A cracking idea hampered by a ropey production. Still, the programme feels fresher than it has for ages and McCoy really begins to shine – glad Sue can his brilliance. 6/10 feels right.

  4. Lorquo Pask  February 16, 2013

    “Keffing Hell” has to go into the dictionary.

    Also, lines from ‘Mel and Sue’ is confusing my tiny tiny brain.

    • Nick Mays  February 16, 2013

      Yes! And it needs to go on a mug too! :o)

  5. Andrew  February 16, 2013

    Keffing hell!

    Paradise Towers is pretty decent all in all. Although anything would be an improvement on the last story. I’ve always had a soft spot for the next one too. It’s where we get the first proper glimpses of McCoy’s Doctor. It’ll be interesting to see what Sue makes of it.

  6. Warren Andrews  February 16, 2013

    I’m so pleased that Sue was able to see the potential in this story. There are some great ideas – it’s not bad for a one draft script. I’d hate Doctor Who to be like it all the time but Wyatt’s writing is very broad and eccentric. If the story had a better director it could have been so much more successful – shame Alan Wareing didn’t arrive a season early.

    LOL:

    Me: Do you like the way the Doctor rolls his Rs?
    Sue: I don’t know, I’ll pay more attention to him the next time he’s walking.

    A bit of self-promotion – I’ve had a go at rescoring parts of the story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5KW1cUQ8gw

    • Pete Galey  February 16, 2013

      I like what you’ve done – it suits the tone and sounds like something that could have been used at the time. The only thing I would say is maybe drop it back a bit while McCoy’s talking – it feels like it’s competing with him a bit.

      I’ve been meaning to have a go at scoring the extended edit of Delta part one for a while – I laid the “Escape from the laboratory” music from Resident Evil 2 over the opening sequence and it fitted really well!

  7. jazza1971  February 16, 2013

    For me “Paradise Towers” is embarassing in so many ways; it was miscast, badly directed and just plain wrong in my opinion. I do have the feeling that somewhere in there was a good story trying to break out, but what we get presented on screen was just shockingly bad. The direction allows too many of the supporting cast to play the story as pantomine and thus weakens the whole thing. This could have been a quite dark and scary story, instead it is a cringe-fest from start to finish.

    Despite this there was the odd glimmer of brilliance – Pex being made a kang and the funeral of Pex. Unfortunately these two scenes are somewhat ruined by some pretty awful scripting. Just take the moment when the Doctor states that he just hopes that Pex won’t lose his nerve and hurry things along too much. Oh, I wonder what will happen now…
    [CUT TO SCENE OF PEX LOSING HIS NERVE AND HURRYING THINGS ALONG TOO MUCH…]

    But, at least McCoy’s characterisation is miles better in this story, so things are on the up. I wouldn’t give it a six, but it is at least an improvement.

  8. encyclops  February 16, 2013

    She’s nailed this one — I don’t think there’s a single reaction she had that I didn’t share, except that I’ve never dated anyone who looked like Pex and I think I’d rather do that than voluntarily accept a Keff McCulloch score. 6/10 is more than I’d give it but after TatR it must have seemed like sweet relief.

    • DPC  February 16, 2013

      Pex is hot! (seriously, yum!)

  9. DPC  February 16, 2013

    Back in the day, I thought the same thing, re: silver face… It might have taken more effort to make McCoy’s face silver in post-production, or why anyone thought it was a good idea to make it silver in the first place… he’s not a cyberman…

    In one of the DVD extras, Keff was a last-minute replacement for the previous composer. Given how little time he had to do it, it’s amazing it’s even remotely listenable… the original score was too repetitive, as I recall…

    Bananarama made my banana… eh, nevermind.

    The cleaner devices are a bit less than evocative. I’m surprised the story got made, given how dark, dreary, and violent it is – cleaning machines grabbing people through vents, treating them as trash, etc… and some of those people were cannibals… the story would have worked better in season 22…

    The caretakers look like they rummaged a nazi uniform wardrobe, but act like they were trying out for Village People auditions… they’re horrid. Especially the Chief, who found Hitler’s mustache stash…

    The story does indeed have some good ideas, let down by a lame, camped-up production, complete with having no budget.

    I like the way the Doctor rolls his R’s…

    And Pex was great as well. Wrong build (no muscles), but the acting was perfect.

    Not only was the original music repetitive, Sue is right – “farty” describes it perfectly. I prefer the disco…

    And it’s a shame the writers didn’t know what to do with Mel. She worked with Sixie far better…

  10. Lorquo Pask  February 16, 2013

    “Do you think the writer has ever met a real teenager?”

    She’s going to be saying that a lot in the coming weeks.

    I also haven’t seen this one since it went out – I seem to remember quite liking it, at least for McCoy-era Who, but the cheapness and music really let it down for me. I also felt that broad comedy wasn’t what Doctor Who needed whilst hanging by a thread and not being taken seriously anyway.

    But the idea has potential, and I did find the cannibalistic old ladies pretty claustrophobic. I can only imagine how horrified the poor writer would have been by the execution.

  11. Rassilon  February 16, 2013

    Stil no love here for this, Dramarama meets Bananarama says it all especially with the taunting of Pex. Next up Echo & The Bunnymen, which works better as I recall due to being in the 50’s & location work & if memory serves me correctly the peak of this season.

  12. Sean Alexander  February 16, 2013

    Enjoyed Sue’s comments far more than the story. This IS an improvement on TatR (being the first story commissioned by a new script editor helps) but Wyatt’s ideas are swamped by poor direction, poor performances (what did Richard Briers think he was doing?) and the legend that is Keff. Did Mark Strickson divorce Julie Brennan before or after this mess?

    6/10 is generous but McCoy is starting to shine. It’ll be the next season before he hits his stride. And Bonnie is superfluous after just THREE stories (think about it).

  13. Godfrey Hill  February 16, 2013

    Haha on the Al-jazeera. You were definately shortchanged by that one, Neil – they preferred to concentrate on Potterheads (WTF)_ and some mouthy Californian lecturer who i think was on a coke high.

  14. chris-too-old-to-watch  February 16, 2013

    Mmm Interesting (Vairry Interesting). This review has actually made me think about the possibility of maybe getting someone else to watch this and tellme about it……
    This was always the “ooh, lets see what McCoy’s Doctor is going to be like” story. Is it funny? Scary? Mysterious? As a result it was a bad amalgam of everything and not-totally successful at any of them. I don’t think McCoy gets it until Dorothy turns up.
    All together now, click those heels together “There’s no place like…..”

  15. gavinio  February 16, 2013

    I completely and unashamedly love Paradise Towers. It’s one of my favourite Who stories ever and there’s only one McCoy story I think is better than this and that’s the opener from series 25 (not mentioning the title as it could be construed as spoilers for Sue is she’s reading these comments!).

    I can’t explain why I like it so much either because there should be so many reasons why I shouldn’t like it but I find it more fun to watch than a lot of other stories fandom hold up as classics. The best scene is the one where McCoy escapes using the rulebook against the caretakers – that was where I finally thought McCoy was the Doctor because it was such a ‘Doctorish’ thing to do.

    Build high for happiness!

  16. Steve O'Brien  February 16, 2013

    I interviewed Briers for an issue of my fanzine Peladon in 1988 (new issue coming soon) and he said he took the part as he allowed him to overact and “thoroughly show off!” Nicholas Mallett is now dead.

    • matthewkilburn  February 16, 2013

      Briers appeared on television within twelve months of Paradise Towers and said much the same, including that the Chief Caretaker was a deliberate broad comedic performance as a farewell to sitcom; he was looking ahead to his work with Kenneth Branagh’s Renaissance Theatre Company at that time.

    • seanalexander  February 16, 2013

      R.I.P the Mallet.

  17. P.Sanders  February 16, 2013

    Good for Sue!

    Always had a soft-spot for PT. Agree wholeheartedly with Sue on this (though maybe I would give it a 7, even if everything falls apart in the last episode). At the time I loved the Cleaners, and my friends and I would play a game where we pretended cars were Cleaners and we had to not let them see us. I guess as 9-11 year old boys we were the target audience, so it must have been doing something right, despite the flaws. This is Cartmel and his writers beginning to experiment, and I think stories like this, THP and GSITG have aged well out of the context of late-80s near-cancellation. I reckon Sue should enjoy those stories too if she likes this. Overall her appreciation of this story bodes well for McCoy too!

    • daruthedruid  February 19, 2013

      Yeah I agree!

      I have a soft spot for it too – glad to have Pip & Jane out the way and I do enjoy Sly very much and the Cartmel Direction.

  18. Thomas  February 16, 2013

    I really like this one- and would honestly have to disagree with the people saying the acting and production lets it down. There are certainly moments that fall flat because of the execution, but on the whole the story actually works better for me because of its relative cheapness (though I’ve never found the acting to be poor- over-the-top at points, yes, but that’s not really a bad thing). Something about the silliness of it actually helps the satire and grimness work better- at the very least it’s fun to watch while also making a point (the same is true of the next story, though the turn into darkness is a bit more jarring there).

    It’s not like we don’t already give passes to Who on account of its cheapness, anyways.

    • Lorquo Pask  February 16, 2013

      “It’s not like we don’t already give passes to Who on account of its cheapness, anyways.”

      True – but, for me at least, there’s a tipping point where “doing their best on a low budget” crosses through “endearingly quaint” and ends up fully in “distractingly naff”. When monsters stop seeming threatening and situations don’t seem believable on any level. From my point of view, anyway. It’s no Robots Of Death.

    • Jane  February 16, 2013

      I agree, accepting the camp pantomime as what it is — a way of sending up certain aspects of the subject matter — is a great antidote to the grimdark ethos. And notice how the camp aspects fall away in Episode Four when the Caretakers and Rezzies join forces — suddenly, the performances of these characters are played straight, and I found that highly effective.

      Unlike, say, a Robots of Death, the aesthetics of this story (as almost everything else with this story) are in service to social commentary, not to mention commentary on the show itself. Obviously, this is going to rub certain fans the wrong way — which is fine, after all, at this point the show is actively mocking some of the older values of the series.

      Me, I love it to bits.

      • encyclops  February 17, 2013

        Oh, I don’t think there’s any aspect of this story I’d compare favorably to Robots of Death.

        Sometimes camp pantomime is fun, and sometimes it’s just an excuse to avoid actually saying anything meaningful about the issues you’re raising. I’m mostly okay with it here, but I think there’s a lot of wasted potential.

        Also, I like stories with meta-commentary in them (though I must have missed it here and will have to watch it again), but at the back of it is the problem that meta- needs the thing itself to exist first. In other words, commentary always lives in the shadow of the commented on. The McCoy era is fascinating to write about, but it’s easy for academics to overrate that particular virtue.

        • Jane  February 17, 2013

          In PT there’s *plenty* of material for commentary. The “everyone for herself” ethic of the Rezzies. The fascism of the Caretakers. The horrible dehumanizing architecture of modernism, delusions of grandeur that elevate the Chief Architect’s self-conception to that of a god — after all, he is resurrected, but to play him as a zombie is a frontal assault on certain religious conceptions. Even the faux heroism of Pex is played… strangely… but his funeral is played straight-up. And that’s how the camp aesthetic works, that which is played straight up is held in value, that which is subjected to the camp is criticized.

          In that light, it’s interesting that the monsters are themselves played with a camp aesthetic. Honestly, the Cleaners are rubbish. And that becomes a commentary on Doctor Who itself, and its past tendency to use “monstering” as a form of commentary, to comment through fear rather than mocking laughter. So PT makes fun of one of Doctor Who’s staple tropes, and I couldn’t agree more.

          Naturally, this won’t be taken well by those fans who adore said tropes, but that’s a whole ‘nuther story.

          • encyclops  February 17, 2013

            I’d agree with the points you bring up in the first paragraph; that’s why, as I’ve said, this is my favorite story from this season.

            As for the rest…I think most fans have at one time or another had plenty of reason to deride certain monsters and even probably “monstering” itself. Whether this actually seems to work as a commentary on that hinges on whether they manage to get across something other than “being rubbish.” Otherwise you could really say the same of the Myrka, couldn’t you?

          • Jane  February 17, 2013

            The difference with the Myrka is that the whole rest of the story isn’t played with a camp aesthetic. It’s not functioning at that level of commentary — sadly, that whole swath of Doctor Who lacked such self-awareness, resisted looking in the mirror, or at anything else for that matter. It’s resorting to pantomime when it’s obviously trying to go for gritty grimdark. Blecch.

            Whereas in PT the camp aesthetic is so pervasive it’s obviously intentional, and therefore requires a different critical eye — whether we like camp or not. I mean, I’m not the biggest fan of camp, but when I see it I can at least put on different “eyeglasses” for interpreting the show.

            A better example would be the Mandrels in Nightmare of Eden, another story where the camp aesthetic rules. The monsters are send-ups, but with a twist: the commentary is that monsters function like drugs, primarily in the sense of providing “escape” for escapists. Both PT and NoE have very different intentions than Warriors or Robots.

          • encyclops  February 18, 2013

            We’ll have to agree to differ on this one. 🙂 If the main difference between the Myrka and the Cleaners is the context (Ingrid Pitt in mad eyeshadow doing karate chops vs. Richard Briers as the Nazi superintendent), it seems just as likely that the Cleaners are exactly what they appear to be: overambitious special effects, highlighted because JNT demanded his monsters. Frankly I’d say the Cleaners are MORE effective than the Myrka, perhaps even more than the Mandrels (whom I adore — you won’t catch me hating on NoE) in terms of basic onscreen realization, and if they’re no worse than what they’re lampooning, are they really lampooning it?

            Again, though, for what it’s worth my favorite McCoy stories (which include Wyatt’s next story and Graeme Curry’s) are the campest ones.

            When I think about this story I always wonder what it would be like if there were no Cleaners and no Caretakers, but just an ongoing battle between Kangs, Rezzies, and maybe a few other factions, which the Doctor must mediate without the aid of a rather tedious unifying threat.

  19. matthewkilburn  February 16, 2013

    I don’t think I’d give it as much as a 6, but agree with Sue on almost everything else. I prefer David Snell’s score to Keff’s, but it is picking up on an interpretation of the script which not everyone involved in the production is following. McCulloch music makes sure all the variant ideas are equally underwater.

  20. Jez Noir  February 16, 2013

    I was 5 years old when this was first broadcast and I feel obliged to point out that the cleaners scared the quivering p*ss out of my fragile mind to a far greater extent than the Daleks ever did, so I can’t regard them as that much of a failure.

  21. Richard Lyth  February 16, 2013

    I recently watched this for the first time since it was broadcast, and it was a lot better than I remembered – all the satirical stuff would have gone way over my head at the time, and all that stuck in my mind were the rubbish robots and Richard Briers overacting. Now I can see that it’s the best story in this season, not a classic certainly but definitely worth seeing, and a definite signifier of where the show would go in the next two years.

  22. seanalexander41  February 16, 2013

    Only Dragonfire saves Season 24 from being a complete embarrassment. And that’s not a classic either. Dominic Glynn’s score is good (whoops, getting ahead of myself again!)

  23. RetroWhoGal? (@DrWho7Freak)  February 16, 2013

    I have read through and I agree with Sue, Mel set’s my teeth on edge too! I was nice about her until I watched Terror of the Vervoids – and that was it! Her screaming???? Come on, Mel, gain a back bone for goodness sake! I have not got this one but I would like to own it as Sylvester is the nicest man I have ever met! He hugged me, so now he is definitely my favourite Doctor.

    • daruthedruid  February 19, 2013

      Yeah, I was so glad to see Mel go! As a character who was meant to be a computer programmer, etc she was poorly written and simply became annoying.

      • RetroWhoGal? (@DrWho7Freak)  February 21, 2013

        Precisely! A computer programmer would have way more nous than Mel – a rebound companion from the loss of Peri – Glad they realised their mistake and brought in Ace. I love Sylvester though so I guess I shall have to put up with Mel.

  24. Wholahoop  February 17, 2013

    I was not impressed on first viewing and when a mate said at the end of part 4 “That wasn‘t very good was it?“ I picked my jaw up from the floor and mumbled something along the lines of the programme having very original dialogue as my best defence. The Doctor Who equivalent of “Shaddup a your face“ as far as I‘m concerned

  25. Wholahoop  February 17, 2013

    PS the blog is vuch appreciated as I sit on my elbow waiting to reboard at Kuala Lumpur

  26. jonathan inge  February 17, 2013

    Despite the flaws and rushed production, I liked it as a kid and still like it now.

    The Seventh Doctor reminds Sue of the Second Doctor? Awesome!

    Mel’s behavior and rationale here makes her not just the worst companion but also the worst character ever.

    Watched the Al Jazeera show The Stream. Not a good program. Who is the intended audience? Topic was a bit broad. There were too many panelists. The host seemed to have no respect for the subject matter and only wanted short declarations rather than explanations. A few panelists had to speak quickly to get their points across. Most of the panelists were obviously nervous. Neil did better in interviews just about DW and this website.

    • Thomas  February 17, 2013

      “Mel’s behavior and rationale here makes her not just the worst companion but also the worst character ever.”

      Dunno, Peri consistently acts worse on a regular basis. At least Mel doesn’t complain incessantly about being on the TARDIS.

      • Nick Mays  February 17, 2013

        Oh I don’t know. She’s a step up from Olla the Heat Vampire!

      • Warren Andrews  February 17, 2013

        With Mel, she’s known as a screamer but that doesn’t make her a shrinking… violet. She’s very gungho in throwing herself into the adventure and never constantly going on about getting back to the TARDIS (Delta aside – as McCoy wanted to showcase him new umbrella:) – she’s always first out of the TARDIS). My 8 year old self didn’t appreciate her that much and Wyatt’s style of writing isn’t especially suited to her but Mel is one of my favourite 80’s companions now (helped by certain BF audios) as she’s the first in that era to actually love travelling in the TARDIS.

        It’s a shame that Cartmel wrote her off based on her insipid JNT created character brief as he could have done something with her. Bonnie has said that she was always looking for some character depth but there never was any so she was more content to write herself out of scenes.

        Like Billie Piper, Bonnie had the potential to overcome the cliché about her but everything they did in the show supported it. She was done a major disservice by the producer who cast her and the directors who gave her zero acting support.

  27. Ben Knaak  February 17, 2013

    Oh, good. I was worried Sue wouldn’t like this one at all. I’m rather fond of it – I’ve always felt the rating it received in the Mighty 200 was massively unfair. The ideas behind it are just too good for it to be THAT bad. To be honest, I think the somewhat tacky look to it kind of helps it in a way. But then, I’ve always liked films and TV shows with a disconnect between content and aesthetic (one of the reasons I like “The Happiness Patrol” – being boiled to death in candy makes for a wonderful clash between grim/gritty and bright/garish).

    Still, it suffers a little from having Mel in it instead of Ace – having Ace play off against the Kangs would have added some more subtext. It also doesn’t do anything that the show wouldn’t do better in its next two seasons. And then, of course, there’s Keff. Still, this is a welcome step in the right direction after the godawful Eric Saward years. I’d probably give it a 7 or maybe even an 8.

  28. Damon  February 17, 2013

    “Khaki Kangs?”
    *applause!* Someone is a fan of Kaki King! Great singer/songwriter.

    • BWT  February 17, 2013

      Indeed, she is. “Playing with Pink Noise” is a nice, funky little number (I’m a sucker for guitar percussion).

  29. BWT  February 17, 2013

    “Paradise Towers” is (just like the next one, “Delta and the Bannermen”) a serial I have never seen. Yes, I know.

    I’m not sure if Sue’s sold it to me or not here…

  30. Julian Chislett  February 17, 2013

    I think McCoy made quite a leap forward with his performance in this one; but that’s about the only positive thing I can say about it. Keffing Hell!!!

    At the time, it was the first story I’d missed an episode of since Ambassadors of Death. And I didn’t really care. And it’s the only story where I haven’t bothered to buy the DVD…Yet. But having enjoyed Sue’s take on it so much I may well put an order in for it soon-ish.

  31. John Callaghan  February 17, 2013

    “More Farty Than Disco” would be a great Barry White album title.

    Another entertaining write-up!

  32. Cookey  February 17, 2013

    “OK, I think I understand what’s happening here. It’s basically Mad Max meets a run-down council estate. I like the idea. It’s got potential.”

    I think that sums up my innermost feelings for the story too, i genuinely like the idea, it’s very dystopian and typical of the said movie franchise. The end product was more silly than satisfying but i still like it, it reminds me of the later RTD stories set on Satellite 5 although with a smaller budget.

    I’m also glad Sue is starting to like Mccoy,just like Colin before him he has had his fair share of criticism but it’s totally unnecessary. He reminds me of Troughton in some respects too.

  33. frankymole  February 17, 2013

    “Do you think the writer has ever met a real teenager?”

    The point of the Kangs is that they are still mentally little children, not teenagers. They had to grow up without proper adults to observe/rebel against, only the fascistic caretakers and rezzies (two sets of elders who seem divided on gender lines). Their chaotic self-upbringing makes them very different to real-life teenagers. As to Ace… well, there’s no excuse for her!

    • seanalexander41  February 17, 2013

      I’m surprised no-one has mentioned JG Ballard’s ‘High Rise’. Yet.

      • Jane  February 17, 2013

        Not enough people here reading Sandifer yet, alas.

        • jsd  February 17, 2013

          Or watching the DVD documentaries, I guess. They mention High Rise as the inspiration several times.

        • seanalexander41  February 17, 2013

          I’ve only read Ballard’s ‘Crash’ (more notorious for the Cronenberg film) and can only cite ‘High Rise’ from reputation. Incredible writer and a COMPLETE pervert!

        • Nick Mays  February 17, 2013

          The parallel I made at the time was with the 1976/7 ITV serial ‘King of the Castle’ set in a parallel- universe-type high rise. A bit like Gormenghast with its characters.

          • seanalexander41  February 17, 2013

            That’s interesting, Nick. Continue…

          • Nick Mays  February 17, 2013

            Here’s a good starting point on it… It was written by Bob Baker and Dave Martin… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_of_the_Castle

            Well worth a watch on DVD!

          • seanalexander41  February 17, 2013

            Thanks Nick, I think I’ve heard of it. I certainly didn’t know it was by the Bristol Boys.

          • Warren Andrews  February 17, 2013

            I love King of the Castle. Peter Hammond directed the first two episodes – Paradise Towers directed by him would have been soooo good.

          • seanalexander41  February 17, 2013

            Peter as in PJ Hammond? Now that would have been worth seeing.

          • tidesoftime  February 17, 2013

            The director was a different Peter Hammond to P.J.

          • seanalexander41  February 17, 2013

            Small universe…

          • Warren Andrews  February 17, 2013

            Same name (P J can now call himself Peter) but different people, one an actor turned director (died last year) and the other a writer. Both brilliant though.:)

            The director version started on the videotape Avengers and pretty much created the house style (and inspired his set designer Robert Fuest to go into directing) directed many Brett Sherlock Holmes episodes. His would have been so great on Paradise Towers encouraging the right tone from the actors as well as supplying incredible visuals on a low budget.

        • daruthedruid  February 19, 2013

          I am an avid reader of Sandifer’s blog – love it!

          Yes, strong Ballard influence here, with a bit of Mega-City 1 thrown in.

      • Anonymous  February 18, 2013

        Probably waiting for everyone else to.

      • P.Sanders  February 18, 2013

        Years later I read “High Rise”, purely as a result of seeing it mentioned as an influence on Paradise Towers (probably in DWM). A good story and nice to think that even its most reviled period (not by me) it could influence someone to discover classic works they hadn’t heard of before.

        High Rise also has a cracking opening line: “As he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months.”

    • Thomas  February 18, 2013

      “As to Ace… well, there’s no excuse for her!”

      It’s worth noting, of course, that her character becomes markedly better after they drop most of the slang from Dragonfire.

      I do love the character, but my goodness, that was awkward.

      • seanalexander41  February 18, 2013

        Sophie is (mostly) very good from Dragonfire onwards and still deserves a return to the series after the aborted appearance in the SJAs. Would also be nice to have a proper closure for the character, seeing as DWM, the Virgin novels and Big Finish have all left her in limbo, to a certain extent (the end of Ground Zero is still one of the greatest non-canonical exits for a companion yet).

  34. Elvwood  February 17, 2013

    I think it’s great despite its flaws, and I’m glad Sue approved. I disagree about the casting of Pex – the fact that he is so wrong for the Rambo role makes him just right for the story. Still, I never had a boyfriend who looked like him so I don’t have anything to put me off! Similarly, the Kangs using Primary School taunts and phraseology works for me – they are just as much a case of arrested development as everyone else. The last episode is definitely the weakest, though, and does bring it down a notch. Still, my favourite of this season by far.

  35. John G  February 17, 2013

    I can’t really disagree with Sue on this one – it is comfortably the most interesting and worthwhile story of Season 24, but is let down by some bad production decisions. Paradise Towers is the first of several McCoy stories where original, different ideas end up being translated in an overly self-conscious, artificial manner which ends up taking the viewer (well me, at any rate) right out of the action. Even so, the ideas are very strong, and some sequences work very well indeed, particularly the Tilda and Tabby ones. McCoy gives one of his better performances (the annoying rolling “r” aside) and I quite enjoy Richard Briers’ efforts, except for the Gumby impersonation when he is possessed!

    How tickled will Sue be by the next story, I wonder?

  36. seanalexander41  February 17, 2013

    Clive Merrison is good and the spin on ‘High Rise’ works generally well. But Bonnie and Howard thingy drag it down. I was still banished to the spare room to watch this one 🙁

  37. Ben Swithen  February 17, 2013

    I love this story – probably my favourite of the eighties, as controversial as that might sound. Glad to see Sue can see its merits.

  38. Longtime Listener  February 17, 2013

    “I don’t know, I’ll pay more attention to him the next time he’s walking.”

    I am going to miss this when it’s over.

    Also…

    “I’m losing my patience with Bonnie Langford. She sets my teeth on edge.”

    Told you! Didn’t I? Didn’t I tell you? I did, you know!

  39. Simon Ellis  February 17, 2013

    Now you’ve mentioned Brazil, I really want to see a Terry Gilliam spin off for this site / project.

  40. DamonD  February 18, 2013

    Encouraging for the rest of the McCoy era. Sue and Neil really nailed both the criticism and praise I think.

    Paradise Towers falls down in tone and execution, the show still doesn’t quite know what it wants to be and it seems to be getting pulled between different influences. But the glimmerings are there.

    I like Briers in this, actually, it’s just when he gets zombified that things plunge off a cliff. Up to that point, as the procedure fixated pocket Napoleon he’s fine.

    • seanalexander41  February 18, 2013

      Great comment Damon. This is an excellent thread. Can we hit 100 before DatB? There’ll be plenty of comment for that too. Thanks.

  41. Matt Sharp  February 18, 2013

    That’s a relief – I’m really glad that the sheer awfulness of Time and the Rani didn’t sour McCoy for Sue!

    I’ve always liked this one, even if it’s seemed as though it takes place in a slightly more absurd universe than the one Doctor Who usually takes place in. It feels rather like The Mighty Boosh than anything else.

    Looking forward to seeing what Sue makes of the next one – I had absolutely no idea what to make of it when I first saw it nearly twenty six years ago, and when I watched it again yesterday, I STILL have no idea what to make of it…

  42. Neil Perryman  February 18, 2013

    I’ve just heard that Richard Briers has died. RIP.

    • seanalexander41  February 18, 2013

      Christ, no!

    • Bob Rabbett  February 18, 2013

      You’d just finished Key to Time when Mary Tamm died; you’ve just finished Paradise Towers and Dickie Briers cops it…heaven help Bonnie Langford…on the other hand…..

      • Neil Perryman  February 18, 2013

        Ken Dodd is looking a bit peaky.

        • seanalexander41  February 18, 2013

          He submitted his tax return last month. The Logopolitans are working on it. Block Tax-avoidance Computation.

          • Wholahoop  February 19, 2013

            Like Starbucks‘ tax returns (allegedly) the diddy tax return. probably disappeared through a Capital Value Evaluation (CVE)

          • seanalexander41  February 19, 2013

            Diddy pay? Diddy Hell!

    • daruthedruid  February 19, 2013

      Whoah! What a shock!

  43. dronid  February 18, 2013

    Just seen the Obituary too. Such a shame.

  44. Marty  February 18, 2013

    Mel in this story gets to do what Susan was always trying to do. And shows why Susan is much luckier. Mel gets to swim in this story and is then menaced by a robot. Susan tries to swim in every story and fails all of the time and was safe.

    Paradise Towers is one of the stories I have vague initial memories of, which probably means I saw it when it was first broadcast. The robots I find a little freaky and can’t really explain why. They’re not scary, they’re actually kinda cardboard Doctor Who monsters. But there’s something about them that occupies a weird space in my head for me.
    Likewise the pool robot, I remember because of this story being ever so freaked by pool cleaners in people’s pools. Not that they’d come to life and try to menace me (or whatever it does in this story), but there was something…of a life to them and it’s because of this story I’ve always been wary of them.

    Yet, probably because of all this I still enjoy it. I’d say menace is the driving force here for me and that’s why I like it.

    It’s an odd story which starts with Mel wanting a swim and end with all the significant characters dead.
    “Remember Pex. Pex was not a kang. But he was brave and bold as a kang should be. Remember Pex.”

  45. frankymole  February 18, 2013

    I’ve never really understood the criticism of Briers’s performance. Exactly how articulate is a zombie meant to be? I have far more problems with the performances of the Kangs and Pex. And Mel’s inexplicable swimming obsession.

    • Jane  February 18, 2013

      Yes, the Kangs are, for the most part, played straight up, but that requires even more chops to deliver effectively. And these Kangs… well, they didn’t exactly build high for happiness.

      The performance of Pex I can forgive because it’s a sendup of that archetype.

    • Matt Sharp  February 20, 2013

      ‘Mel’s inexplicable swimming obsession’

      I think the problem here is that Wyatt is attempting to stick with JNT’s concept of the character, which gives him pretty much nothing to go on. It’s reprinted in his ‘The Companions’ book and among the many disturbing things about it is the fact that I can say what’s wrong with the character of Mel with a direct quote without needing to paraphrase:

      ‘Mel screams well and runs down corridors with élan.’

      (There’s some painful stuff about feminism too, but fortunately everyone involved seems to have ignored that anyway.)

      That’s it, that’s what JNT thinks the role of the Doctor’s companion is. The only thing Pip n’ Jane have told us about her is ‘aerobics!!!’ She’s essentially a crude caricature of Bonnie Langford’s then public image who’s actually played by Bonnie Langford (disclaimer – Bonnie Langford is actually nothing like this and is a genuinely lovely person). The writers and the actress have pretty much nothing else to go on.

      This is why Mel gets separated from the Doctor in episode one and the Doctor ends up with a whole gang of pseudo-companions as he gets on with the plot, while Mel spends the time running down corridors and screaming, getting captured and being sort-of rescued by a gag action hero. The joke there is that Pex is no use at that so she actually obliged to get herself out of these situations.

      • Thomas  February 20, 2013

        Actually, I always saw the swimming scene as just a lazy way of getting Pex’s cowardly nature emphasized so he could be appropriately redeemed at the end. It’s the only weak part of the episode scripting-wise, and probably could’ve been fixed in another draft had they had the time.

        • Matt Sharp  February 20, 2013

          It’s also the scene that includes a line that requires more suspension of disbelief than the whole of ‘Time and the Rani’…

          ‘Come on in, Pex, the water’s lovely!’

          Delivered by an actress who’s turning blue and looks like she might actually be on the verge of going into shock…

  46. frankymole  February 18, 2013

    The cleaning robot reminds me of the John Craven’s Back Pages feature in the Radio Times: http://www.radiotimes.com/uploads/images/original/14874.jpg I thought it was quite a good robot, actually!

  47. Nick Mays  February 18, 2013

    Several of the comments on here refelect my views of this story. But I tend to look at it with my 25 year-old’s eyes in 1987 and then with my 50 year-old’s eyes in 2013 in a nostalgic way… and morte kindly.

    Back in the day, I so wanted Dr Who to succeed again after the hiatus and the first couple of minutes of Time and the Rani lifted my hopes – then cruelly dashed them. It was DIRE! Real kids’ stuff which would embasrass kids. Then Paradise Towers came along and it was a bit better, but I wanted it to be moody, dark, threatening… “proper” Who. My 13 year-old nephew said he loved it and thought it was really funny. Maybe he was right!

    Looking back on uit now, 25 years later, I can appreciate its strengths as well as its weaknesses. A good conceit, played for laughs or at least black hunmour, but let down by shoddy production values so the more subtle parts look just naff, like the Kangs’ language, the Rezzie’s canibilism and of course the Chief Caretaker and his nit-picking rules. Add to this that the Cleaners and the Pool Cleaner look naff – as well as Coagnon in the basement – but the naff look diffuses the actual horror of what they are doing. And in its own way, it works. So nostalgically, I like it; it’s got a certain charm, possibly made even more piquant now that Richard Briars has passed away.

    A few months back I watched Delta and the Bannermen and found I enjoyed it in the same way, but didn’t like it much at the time.

    Of course, by the time Season 25 came along, things seem to have grown up… for a while… 🙂

    • DPC  February 20, 2013

      I too rewatched “Delta”, in preparation for the next tWiS entry… 😀

  48. Anonymous  February 18, 2013

    Just thought I’d mention, the ‘Pex Lives’ graffiti is already there at the beginning before the Tardis arrives. I checked when I had this on VHS video.

  49. Nick Mays  February 18, 2013

    Ah, but maybe Pex himself wall-scrawled it? The Kangs prpobably derided it but later honoured it as a shrine to him.

  50. Neil Sullivan  February 19, 2013

    “With explosives and arrogance”? Surely that’s arrow-guns, isn’t it, which is what they call their guns which fire arrows.

    • Neil Perryman  February 19, 2013

      Yeah, you are probably right. That’s the trouble is using episode transcripts.

      • encyclops  February 19, 2013

        I like “explosives and arrogance” much better anyway.

      • Neil Sullivan  February 19, 2013

        I remember I used to wonder what she said as it is a little indistinct and ‘arrow-guns’ isn’t the most obvious expression! Then it occurred to me. I think she actually gestures with her gun as she says it.

        I should also mention that I had a huge crush on Bin Liner at the time, which still improves the story when I watch it now!

        • seanalexander41  February 19, 2013

          Mark Strickson had such a crush on Bin Liner he married her!

        • Matt Sharp  February 20, 2013

          Ah, well, that short Blue Kang is the best, in my opinion.

  51. David Lancaster  February 19, 2013

    I *heart* this story so much. At the time this was shown, I was seven years old and my great-grandmother lived on the top floor of a high rise block of flats in Birmingham. I used to have to be literally dragged kicking and screaming into that building because it scared the hell out of me…the dark, echoey reception area, the seemingly endless corridors, the interminable cramped lift journey to the top floor…

    Paradise Towers recognised my fears as a 7 year old and validated them! As such, I love it. This should’ve been Sylvester’s first story as the Doctor in my opinion – I think his era would be better remembered if it had’ve been.

  52. backintheussr6  February 19, 2013

    “Bin Liner: With explosives and arrogance we can blow up the Cleaners, no problem.”

    What a fantastic mondegreen, arrogance where it’s actually arrow guns. I like the sound of the former better though.

  53. Shrinking Man  February 19, 2013

    Hmm, I was terrified of both the Cleaners and especially the neon lights in the cellar upon first airing. Unfortunately, when I work out my age from the date, I’d have been 13, and should have been old enough to know better.

    Oh, well, I grew up to be a bit less wet, at least.

  54. Shrinking Man  February 19, 2013

    Why bother? It’s basically “About Time” and the DVD extras, only less informative, less funny, less clever, and far more pretentious.

    • Thomas  February 20, 2013

      What are you talking about?

  55. DPC  February 19, 2013

    I just rewatched this story…

    I don’t know why it fails.

    The acting is consistently VERY good. The Rezzies are the best, as is Pex, and the Kangs make some very iffy dialogue ring true – not an easy task, especially for sci-fi (a genre that requires a leap of faith to begin with!)

    The motif of societal breakdown feels authentic.

    The music isn’t as bad as everyone thinks it is (but it’s not perfect, either, but it’s better than what was originally considered)…

    The alienness of the Doctor and Red Kangs introducing each other is, in a word, *effective*. It’s different, but that’s sci-fi in a nutshell – to show what’s not average or everyday, even if the overall plot reflects everyday issues, the shroud of an alien motif only sweetens the genre and makes it more than others… and we don’t know if the Towers are a human colony or humans in the future on Earth… I’ll go for “colony”…

    The ruthless killings of the residents by Kroganon underneath the noses of everyone else makes for a decent mystery…

    How Pex, who is more of a self-manufactured image than a true lore, is so heinously treated by the Kangs is chilling stuff… and even though society had broken down, his death helped create a new unity that brought people back together… poignant stuff.

    Apart from TARDIS swimming pool reference the story is devoid of any links to the past and references a new monster (the flesh-eating octopi)…

    I don’t know why it fails, apart from the Hitler-wannabe looks of the Caretakers, combined with their idiotic adherence to the rulebook. Yes, they’re not learned to their own materials, but it doesn’t quite come through…

    I’d rate it 6 or 7 with ease… I didn’t expect to enjoy it this much this time around.

  56. Shrinking Man  February 19, 2013

    I always think of series 24 as being ripped from the pages of 2,000AD.

    • seanalexander41  February 19, 2013

      Cartmel was obsessed with graphic novels (not to mention Kangs) especially Alan Moore. His depiction of the 7th Doctor was, somehow, based on Dr. Manhattan(!?!) Can’t say I would want to see a naked, giant Sylvester McCoy on a Monday night after Wogan.

      • Polarity Reversed  February 20, 2013

        Oh dare I? Yeah. I think there are now an awful lot of people in senior film and TV posts who grew up adoring what we in the UK called “comics”, and that’s probably why we get so much “wouldn’t it be cool if X met Y in space with Nazi zombies and cake” these days.
        Time for my lie down…

  57. simoncurtis19  February 20, 2013

    I’ve always felt Richard Briers’ performance to actually tone DOWN when he becomes possessed.

  58. Neemz2000  February 21, 2013

    I’m siding with Verity Lambert:

    “Then, I’m afraid, it went right down the pan for me. The thing about Doctor Who is you’ve got to believe it. You’ve got to be able to suspend your disbelief, and with Sylvester McCoy it got so camp. It was ridiculous”

    • seanalexander41  February 21, 2013

      I’m just glad she got to see the show revived and meet RTD. But then, given her ‘camp’ comments perhaps she had to revise her opinion. ‘Doctor Who’ was camp long before JN-T took over.