Sue: I’m sorry, I missed the title. Tegan distracted me.
Me: Tegan isn’t in the titles.
Sue: Our cat, you idiot. So what’s this one called?
Me: Hang on, I’ll rewind it.
Sue: No, just tell me.
Me: Four to Doomsday.
Sue: I beg your pardon?
Me: Four to Doomsday.
Sue: Numbers or letters?
Sue: Anything to do with Douglas Adams?
Sue: Hmm… Strange title.
The first thing Sue notices is the length of TARDIS crew’s hair.
Sue: They’ve all had their hair cut. I wonder if they did it themselves? Or maybe they went to a special hairdressing planet? If I were Adric, I’d probably ask for my money back.
Tegan’s had more than her hair done.
Sue: She’s caked in make-up. She’s trying to look like Sheena Easton, I think. But nobody has changed their clothes, which is odd. They’ve all had some beauty treatment done (the Doctor has definitely been on a sun bed), but no one has bothered to change out of their dirty, sweaty clothes. Especially Adric. He should be ashamed. Tegan, I can understand – she’s going to start her new job – like anyone would be in a rush to get back to work when they could explore time and space like this. It makes no sense at all.
Unfortunately for Tegan, the TARDIS has landed on a spaceship instead of Heathrow Terminal 4, and the Doctor is determined to explore it.
Sue: He loves to poke around, doesn’t he? One of these days, he’ll press the wrong button and blow himself up.
The Doctor’s progress is monitored by a floating monopticon.
Sue: It’s a Toclafane from The Sound of Drums.
Of course she didn’t really say that. What she actually said was:
Sue: It’s one of those floaty ball things from that David Tennant episode.
Me: Oh yeah, so it is…
Meanwhile, Adric, Nyssa and Tegan are bickering about mathematics. As you do.
Sue: You can cut the sexual tension with a knife. And Peter Davison isn’t even in this scene!
Sue is especially fascinated by the crew’s new helmets.
Sue: I could make a nice replica TARDIS helmet for you, Neil, if you like. They’d be dead easy to do. I’d just need some washing-up liquid bottles, some 15mm flexible waste pipe and a 1970 motorcycle helmet. Simple.
Adric continues to get on Sue’s wick.
Sue: It must be his hormones. He can’t understand these strange feelings he has for Nyssa and he’s trying to overcompensate.
We meet Monarch, as played by Stratford Johns.
Sue: And how the **** am I supposed to recognise him under that? And why are the aliens playing Bingo?
The Urbankans want to know if Tegan is fashionable or not.
Sue: For about 15 minutes in 1981, possibly.
Tegan sketches some contemporary Earth fashions for the aliens to look at.
Sue: If the air hostess job doesn’t pan out, there’s always a future for her as a cartoonist. That’s quite a good likeness of Paul McCartney and Jerry Hall.
Monarch gives Adric a math problem to solve.
Sue: Nicol should be watching this. The programme is obsessed with maths at the moment. Is there going to be a test at the end of this season?
And then we meet Bigon.
Sue: If there isn’t a “let bygones be bygones” joke in this episode, I will have to write to Points of View.
When the Doctor and his companions are provided with refreshments, Adric asks someone to pass him the sodium chloride.
Sue: This is very educational. You’d happily let your kids watch this story.
Me: Only if you wanted to turn them into irritating, obnoxious freaks.
When an Australian Aborigine arrives at the feast, Tegan has to translate for the Doctor.
Sue: Why can’t the Doctor understand him? He can understand everybody else in the universe. I thought the TARDIS translated for him? Have they never heard of continuity? I’m a bit annoyed by that.
Two humans dressed in green velvet suddenly appear. They look like they’ve walked straight out of Tegan’s drawing.
Sue: So this is just like V, then? Lizards pretending to be humans so they can invade the Earth? They’ll be eating mice before you know it. I have to say, I’ve seen better first episodes.
Adric doesn’t understand how the Urbankans can transform into new life forms at will.
Sue: For ****’s sake, Adric. It’s probably block transfer thingy! You created a whole society last week, so this must be a piece of piss compared to that. Seriously, the lack of continuity is really beginning to annoy me.
Three billion Urbankans are stored on this ship. Once again, Adric can’t get his head around the concept.
Sue: They’re probably just tadpoles. I bet you could store a lot of frogspawn on that ship.
Adric and Nyssa become separated from the Doctor and Tegan.
Sue: They are really ramping up the sexual tension this week. How will they resist each other in a dimly lit storage room?
The Doctor and Tegan are given VIP seats for a very special performance.
Me: This balcony reminds me of the video for Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘Relax’.
Here they are forced to watch some Chinese dragon dancing (and they don’t even have any popcorn to pass the time).
Sue: Tegan is like the Queen at the Olympic Opening Ceremony. Smile, you bitch! Smile!
Meanwhile, Adric finally puts two and two together: there isn’t enough oxygen on the ship.
Sue: Not enough action, you mean. This story is just people wandering around rooms and chatting. It hasn’t been like this since the 1960s!
Nyssa starts prodding one of Monarch’s workers, and when he pushes her away, Adric flies off the handle.
Sue: Adric is so blinded by lust, he’s sticking up for Nyssa, even though she’s clearly in the wrong. She was poking the poor sod. What was he supposed to do?
The Doctor pretends to have a dizzy spell so Bigon can talk to him in private.
Sue: It’s Peter Davison I feel sorry for. When he read the script for this, he must have thought, “What the **** have I let myself in for?”
When a gladiator is stabbed in the stomach, Adric and Nyssa watch as he is repaired.
Sue: It’s bloody Westworld again! Every few weeks they wheel this story out. And if they’re making robots for entertainment purposes, and this is the best they can come up with, then their technology must be shit. Invent the PlayStation instead, you morons. Or make a mechanical Derren Brown. Anything but this.
An aboriginal dance troupe are up next.
Sue: Here comes Kate Bush.
Me: No love, that’s next week.
The episode concludes with Bigon opening his chest to reveal he too is a robot.
Sue: We’re seen it all before. Several times, in fact. It’s boring.
When Adric decides to side with the Urbankans, Sue isn’t surprised at all.
Sue: They do have a point. Humans are total shits.
Bigon tells the Doctor that Monarch plans to wipe out humanity with a deadly poison. He gets quite worked up about it, actually.
Sue: It’s just a shame he doesn’t come installed with an acting chip.
Adric tells Monarch about the Doctor’s greatest archenemy, the Master.
Sue: He’s not in this one as well, is he? That would be tedious.
Sue quite likes Monarch, though.
Sue: He’s quite affable, as far as villains go. You could easily get around him with some flattery if you had to. I’m not frightened of him at all.
Tegan can’t stand it any longer and begins freaking out.
Sue: Whenever Tegan speaks, I feel myself getting stressed. She’s like an excitable dog that won’t stop yapping.
Nyssa is hypnotised so she can be turned into a synthetic copy of herself. Enlightenment tells her that her eyes are getting heavier and heavier…
Sue: Tell me about it.
Meanwhile, the Doctor is able to distract a monopticon with a cricket ball and his sonic screwdriver.
Sue: I liked that. That was a very Doctorish thing to do. He’s quite a bouncy Doctor, isn’t he?
An android named Lin Futu (played by none other than Burt Kwouk) monitors Nyssa’s conversion.
Sue: If they turned Nyssa into a robot for the rest of the series, would anyone actually notice?
Adric can’t stop apologising for Monarch’s wicked ways.
Sue: Adric is such a pushover when it comes to powerful, older men. We should have seen this coming.
Lin Futu checks on Nyssa.
Sue: Thanks for the running commentary, Cato.
Me: So you finally recognised Cato, then?
Sue: No, I was just being racist. Sorry. Is it really Cato? Honestly?
Tegan finds her way back to the TARDIS.
Sue: If Tegan ends up flying the TARDIS, I may have to kick something.
Bigon tells the Doctor that Monarch punished him once by locking him in a drawer for 100 years.
Sue: At least he was spared the Chinese dragon dancing for a while.
I hate to break it to you, folks, but Sue is beginning to have second thoughts about Adric.
Sue: I’m going right off him. From genius to git in three episodes. It’s either his hormones or the writer is a ****ing idiot.
Tegan is still freaking out in the TARDIS.
Sue: Take some Valium! Look at me, I’m actually biting my nails because she puts me on edge. How long does Tegan stick around?
Me: Not long.
Sue: Good. My nerves can’t take much more of this.
Tegan dematerialises the TARDIS.
Sue: Bullshit! And where does she think she’s going, anyway? She just left her friends behind to die so she could go back to her boring little job. I hate Tegan. I can’t believe you made me name one of our cats after her.
The episode concludes with the Doctor facing a beheading, despite Adric’s protestations.
Sue: Oh, shut up, Adric. It’s too late for that now. Good cliffhanger, though. If in doubt, threaten to chop somebody’s head off.
Monarch decides to spare Adric’s life.
Sue: He fancies the pants off him. Ribbit.
Adric begs Monarch to spare the Doctor’s life, too.
Sue: He’s a pushover. Buy him some flowers and chocolates and he’ll definitely change his mind.
Monarch wants to know why the Doctor interfered with his monopticons.
Sue: Would you like me to interfere with your monopticons, Neil?
When the Doctor pretends to take Monarch’s side, Adric laps it up.
Sue: What a ****ing idiot. Why is Adric being written as a moron? Has the writer never seen Castrovalva? Jesus…
And then we are treated to some more dancing.
Sue: Oh, for ****’s sake!
At which point, the Doctor bollocks Adric for being such a dick.
Sue: It’s not even a subtext any more.
Monarch has decided to use Adric as his emissary on Earth.
Sue: And Earth will piss their pants laughing.
Meanwhile Tegan is still struggling to fly the TARDIS.
Sue: With any luck, the next button she presses will result in the TARDIS landing on top of that dancing dragon, and then they can all piss off home. Because this is ridiculous.
Monarch and Persuasion watch the latest episode of Strictly Come Dragon Dancing with keen interest.
Sue: Surely they must be bored of this by now. I know I am.
Persuasion is especially excited when the time comes for Topless Male Wrestling Hour.
Sue: This is definitely her favourite programme. I bet she’s got all of these on tape.
The Doctor will have to risk a spacewalk in order to reach his TARDIS, which has materialised outside the ship.
Sue: All this carry on because Tegan is a ****ing idiot. This has nothing to do with the villains, you know. If it wasn’t for Tegan, this would be over by now.
In fact, it’s safe to say that Sue’s patience with the Doctor’s companions has well and truly run out.
Sue: The Doctor should ground them for a month when this is all over. He should have three adventures on his own while they stay locked in their bedrooms. That’ll teach them.
As the Time Lord launches himself into space, Persuasion intervenes and the Doctor is forced to return to the ship in order to switch the synthetic weirdo off.
Sue: Why is he stuck in a camp waiter pose?
The Doctor tries again, only this time Enlightenment messes things up and he is set adrift in space. Thankfully, he has a cricket ball in his pocket, which he uses to save himself. Obviously.
Sue: I’m no scientist, but I’m pretty sure that’s bollocks.
But it’s not all bad news.
Sue: Having said that, it doesn’t look too bad. They’re really trying. It’s a nice special effect.
When the Doctor enters the console room, Sue can’t believe he didn’t give Tegan a slap.
Sue: William Hartnell wouldn’t have put up with this crap from his companions.
The TARDIS materialises on Monarch’s ship and the Doctor rushes off to save Adric and Nyssa.
Sue: SHUT THE ****ING DOORS! The next thing you know, an aborigine will accidentally dance into the console room and fly it away, because any ****er can fly the TARDIS now, can’t they?
The Doctor gives Monarch’s poison to Adric to look after.
Sue: Is he insane? I wouldn’t trust Adric with a flask of tea!
And then, would you believe it, Monarch is killed by his own poison.
Sue: What a load of old shit.
However, the synthetic entertainers decide to stay on the ship.
Sue: (As Bigon) We’re going to tour the galaxy together. All we need now is some Arts Council funding.
And then, just when we think it’s all over, Nyssa faints.
Me: Sorry, love, it’s a six-parter.
Sue: Oh, for ****’s sake…
Sue: What tedious bollocks. Seriously, what the **** was that? Whoever wrote that one should never be allowed to write for the programme again. What the **** was Adric playing at? And the title makes no sense!