The Twin Dilemma isn’t Sue’s first exposure to Colin Baker. No, that came two days earlier with I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! Before that, Colin was just some actor who shouted at me at a convention once (at least we have something in common now) and, according to ITV, a former Dr Who.
Me: He was also in The Brothers, you know.
This is what Sue thought of Colin after three days in the jungle:
Sue: He’s really nice. I want to give him a big cuddle. And I bet he’s secretly pleased his team isn’t winning any food, because he says he wants to lose some weight, and we all know why he wants to do that, beyond living longer, of course. He wants to be in the 50th anniversary special.
Sue: New titles!
Me: Yes, Peter Davison’s face didn’t fit when Colin took over.
Sue: It’s very Top of the Pops. And Colin seems friendly in these. Tom looked miserable in his. The Twin Dilemma… I bet you’d like a dilemma like that, wouldn’t you, Neil? Which Cheeky Girl would you choose to sleep with?
Me: Cheeky Girl? What year is this? 2003?
The Twin Dilemma begins with two boys playing together in a futuristic home.
Sue: We’ve landed on the planet of the bowl-cuts. I still feel bad about cutting my friend Tucker’s hair like that. No wonder she wouldn’t speak to me for years.
The titular twins, Romulus and Remus, are playing a game that manages to combine both backgammon and chess. Hey, it’s the future!
Sue: Is Doctor Who trying to appeal to its core audience at this point? You know, by setting this in a chess club for geeks.
The twins’ father, Sylvest, berates them for being rude to their mother.
Sue: They need to spend an afternoon on the naughty step.
Sylvest expects more from a pair of mathematical geniuses.
Sue: So they’re a pair of Adrics? Ha! They make Matthew Waterhouse look like Daniel Craig!
Meanwhile the Sixth Doctor is still getting used to his new body.
Sue: I really like this. This is a quick, no-nonsense regeneration. The Doctor usually spends an episode in bed, or he acts really weird for ages. There’s no mucking about here.
Sue likes the new Doctor’s features almost as much as he does.
Sue: Colin’s quite handsome, actually. His face has a lot of character. That was the trouble with Peter – he was too pretty to be that interesting.
The Doctor enters the TARDIS’ wardrobe room on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
Sue: It’s a very good performance. Colin’s really going for it, and his laugh is very creepy.
The Doctor reaches for a coat of many colours.
Me and Sue: Noooooooooooooo!
Back on the Planet of the Bowl-Cuts, an elderly man named Edgeworth appears out of thin air and convinces the twins to leave with him.
Sue: So a creepy old man with white hair is kidnapping young children… If only it wasn’t happening for real in the studio next door.
The Sixth Doctor’s new look definitely makes an immediate impression.
Sue: It clashes a bit.
Me: A bit? A bit?… A BIT!?
A brooch completes the Doctor’s new look.
Sue: At least he likes cats, which means he’s okay in my book. It’s just a shame he’s stuck in that bloody costume. Colin would have looked wonderful in a black suit.
Peri has changed her outfit too.
Sue: That’s almost as bad. Still, anything would seem good next to Colin right now. He looks like a court jester.
This particular jester tries to choke his companion to death.
Sue: This is definitely not for kids!
Me: What do you make of it?
Sue: It’s a mission statement, I suppose. This is the programme saying, “He’s not Peter Davison any more”. In fact, he’s probably as far from Peter Davison as it’s possible to get. It’s a brave thing to do, actually.
Me: He’s trying to kill Peri!
Sue: He’s poorly.
Me: Oh, that’s alright, then!
Sue: Is this the local St John’s Ambulance Brigade?
No, it’s the Star Cops Special Incident room and Sylvest is reporting the twins’ abduction to Lieutenant Hugo Lang.
Sue: I wonder how many injuries this lot have suffered wearing those oversized badges of theirs. I bet you could do yourself some serious damage with the pointy end. Or maybe they double as weapons when they arrest people?
The Doctor is still behaving very strangely indeed.
Sue: He needs to find his safe room.
Me: The Zero Room?
Sue: Yes, that’s it. Just pop him in a cupboard for a couple of hours. I’m sure he’ll be fine.
I think Sue is enjoying the Doctor’s latest mental breakdown.
Sue: The only thing that lets this down is the direction. It’s flat and over-lit.
Me: So who directed it?
Sue: I don’t know… Peter Moffat?
It’s official: Sue’s Director Detector™ now operates at both ends of the spectrum. Oh, and she isn’t impressed with the Jacondans, either.
Sue: Crap Klingons, that’s what they are. That one looks like he should be in the chorus line for a Broadway production of The Lion King. They’re rubbish!
Fabian of the Special Incident Room loses contact with Hugo’s ship, so she asks Elena to find out what happened.
Sue: Poor Elena. I bet she gets all the shit jobs.
The Doctor wants to atone for his sins by becoming a hermit. He’ll find a cave to live in and Peri can tend to his needs.
Sue: In your dreams, mate.
This Doctor is clearly unhinged.
Sue: I know what’s going on here – Colin has decided to play it like Tom Baker. The problem is, Tom is naturally bonkers whereas Colin is trying much too hard to be wacky. But it’s early days and I’m sure he’ll settle down eventually.
It seems the planet Jaconda is under the thrall of the Mestor.
Sue: Oh dear. This week’s villain is the Hungry Caterpillar.
She giggles as the camera moves in for a better look.
Sue: They’ve lit this thing as if to say, “Look at this! Look how brilliant our monster is!” when they should be hiding it in the shadows and apologising.
The Doctor and Peri arrive on Titan 3, but before they can find a nice cave to cuddle in, they stumble upon Hugo’s crashed spaceship instead.
Sue: That’s quite impressive, actually.
Peri wants to leave and the Doctor berates her for being such a heartless bitch.
Sue: And now he’s trying to be William Hartnell.
They carry the unconscious Hugo back to the TARDIS, but as the Doctor and Peri bicker over his body, the cop wakes up and reaches for his gun.
Sue: It’s Reservoir Dogs. With a clown.
The episode ends with an extreme close-up of the Doctor’s face.
Sue: He needs to work on his scared face. That was his “all the sandwiches in the green room have gone” face.
Sue: That wasn’t too bad, I suppose. It’s certainly different. Stick the next one on.
The Doctor is still acting up.
Sue: He’s channeling Jon Pertwee now by being a massive cock.
Sue doesn’t understand why Peri hasn’t handed in her notice yet.
Sue: She must be gutted. Even travelling with the Master would be better than this.
The Doctor asks Peri to identify something odd on the TARDIS scanner.
Peri: A bump.
The Doctor: A bump? A BUMP?
Sue: How he said those lines without staring at her cleavage, I’ll never know.
Meanwhile Edgeworth examines the twins’ latest handiwork.
Sue: (as Edgeworth) Well done, boys! These new bathroom tile designs are superb!
It becomes clear that the twins are terrified of Mestor. In fact Romulus (or is it Remus?) has never been more frightened in his life.
Sue: You need to get out more, son.
I think it’s fair to say Sue hasn’t warmed to the twins.
Sue: So whose idea was it to give short-tongued kids the names Romulus and Remus, anyway? It’s cruel.
The Doctor and Peri are exploring a tunnel on Titan 3 when the Time Lord suddenly chickens out and runs away.
Sue: They are pushing this a bit too far now. I’m starting to go off him. He needs to get a grip.
The Doctor and Peri are captured by the Jacondans and taken to Edgeworth’s lab. The Doctor immediately recognises the professor’s technology.
Sue: Yes, it’s an ancient arcade machine that’s been covered in tin foil.
Edgeworth is actually an old friend of the Doctor’s named Azmael.
Sue: You know, I bet Colin Baker would have been brilliant on Jackanory.
Hugo wakes up on the TARDIS and retrieves his gun.
Sue: It’s a socket from a screwdriver set!
Hugo enters the TARDIS wardrobe.
Sue: Of all the rooms he could walk into, he had to walk into that one. What a coincidence. Hang on a minute… What is he doing? Is he changing his clothes? Because he’s a little bit dirty? How many cops would do that?! That’s ridiculous!
Hugo’s new look goes down as well as you’d expect.
Sue: Is there a competition in this episode to see who can wear the stupidest clothes? That is insane. Even if he was taking part in the World Disco Dancing Championships, that costume would be insane.
Hugo admires himself in a mirror.
Me: (As Hugo) You talkin’ to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin’ to? You talkin’ to me? Well, I’m the only one here…
Hugo tries to find the exit.
Sue: Trust me, mate, you really don’t want to go out dressed like that.
Meanwhile the Doctor decides to send Peri 10 seconds back in time. That way she’ll end up back on the TARDIS before a bomb can go off.
Sue: That makes no ****ing sense at all. They’ve been here for more than 10 seconds. That’s rubbish!
The base explodes before the Doctor can return to the TARDIS and the episode ends with Peri in tears.
Sue: That is not a good look for Nicola.
Sue: It’s started to go downhill now. Some of the ideas are okay, but the direction is appalling. And it’s so cheap, too. The Caves of Androzano has spoiled us.
The Doctor eventually returns to his TARDIS – 10 seconds into the future.
Sue: Eh? But if that’s true, why doesn’t another version of him appear 10 seconds later? Like, er… now?
But it isn’t all bad news. Sue fancies Kevin McNally something rotten.
Sue: He’s very easy on the eye, but he’ll have to ditch that costume if he’s a proper companion. The good news is he knows how to find the TARDIS wardrobe so it shouldn’t take him long.
Mestor is a nasty piece of work, according to Sue. And by that she means its design is terrible.
Sue: He’s boss-eyed and I can’t understand a bloody word he’s saying. But apart from that, it’s brilliant.
When the Doctor realises that Jaconda has been invaded by giant gastropods, he retires to the TARDIS to have a think about it.
Sue: That’s the most sensible thing I’ve ever seen the Doctor do. If he were Tom or Peter, he would have swanned off into danger by now.
And then Sue sighs.
Sue: I don’t have a clue what’s going on any more. And what does the title mean, exactly? Is it that you don’t know which twin you want to murder first? Is that the dilemma?
Me: You’re struggling with this one, aren’t you?
Sue: It’s badly directed, it’s badly acted, it’s badly designed, it’s badly lit, it’s badly directed – have I said that already? – and the music is crap. But apart from that, it’s fine. Actually, the only decent thing about this story is the dialogue. The Doctor has some good lines in this.
We discover the gastropods are half-human, half-slug.
Sue: Somebody must have been really desperate for that to happen.
Me: I don’t want to think about it.
Sue: Are they sure it’s half-slug? It looks half-owl to me.
Hugo’s feet become stuck in the gastropod’s slime trail.
Sue: Take your boot off, you idiot!
Hugo decides to burn his way out with a laser beam instead.
Sue: For the love of God, just take your ****ing boot off!
Azmael and Mestor meet to discuss their plans.
Sue: That guy is walking behind the slug, so why isn’t he stuck to the floor as well? This isn’t very consistent.
When the Doctor reaches Azmael’s laboratory, he immediately vaults over a table and attacks his old friend.
Sue: It’s turned into a pantomime. I don’t like anyone in this story. This old guy is probably the nicest character in the whole thing, and he’s threatening to kill children.
It’s at this point that our daughter Nicol walks into the room.
Nicol: Ooh, it’s Colin Baker.
Sue: I wouldn’t hang around if I were you, Nic. This is painful. Escape now, while you still can.
Nicol legs it just as the episode reaches its conclusion and the Doctor is told that Peri must die.
Sue: Colin still needs to work on his scared face. It looks like he’s just remembered he’s left the gas on.
The credits roll.
Sue: I’m not enjoying this at all. There’s no atmosphere, the plot isn’t involving me at all, and everybody is TOO ****ING LOUD!
Mestor has decided he wants to keep Peri around indefinitely.
Sue: Just what this show needs – another sex pest. The universe isn’t very nice to Peri, is it?
Oh, and he wants to realign the orbits of a couple of planets as well.
Sue: Brian Cox would have a field day with this bollocks!
But Azmael has overlooked something: if his plan succeeds he’ll cause an enormous explosion.
Sue: How did he not realise this before? That’s just plain stupid!
So Mestor breaks into the Doctor’s TARDIS.
Sue: Even when they remember to lock the doors, anyone can still walk into the bloody TARDIS these days. Even a ****ing slug!
Azmael tells the Doctor he can’t regenerate any more.
Sue: Eh? So he’s a Time Lord? Was I supposed to know that? They kept that quiet! I mean, was there a point to that?
The Doctor kills Mestor with acid.
Sue: Did he just chuck some salt at him?
And then Azmael dies in the Doctor’s arms.
Sue: Oh, just get on with it! Die!
Me: This is supposed to be moving. Don’t you care?
Sue: He was threatening to kill small children half an hour ago, so guess what? No, I don’t ****ing care.
Azmael croaks his last breath.
Sue: ****ing ridiculous.
As the story limps to its flaccid conclusion, Hugo suddenly decides to stay on Jaconda.
Sue: Has he gone mad? Let’s see: I can travel through time and space with a fit bird and a crazy clown, or I can live on a shit hole with a bunch of cretins and no food. For ****’s sake!
The Doctor promises to take the twins home in his TARDIS.
Sue: If these two idiots are in the next story, I will give up. Seriously, Neil, I won’t be able to carry on with this any more.
Anyway, this new guy is the Doctor, whether Peri likes it or not.
Sue: That was directed at the fans, wasn’t it? I bet that was JN-T saying that. I blame JN-T, you know. He hasn’t got a clue. When does he leave?
Sue: That was rubbish. I liked the first episode a lot, but then it went downhill from there. I blame the director. And JN-T. And the costume designer. Was she smoking crack? Crack was very big in the 1980s.
Me: What about Colin?
Sue: It’s far too early to tell. He’s very loud, though. And I’m not just talking about his coat.
Later that night…
Sue: I want to change my score. I’ve been thinking about it a lot.
Me: You have? Do you think that’s wise?
Sue: I was too lenient. I want to mark it again. No, I have to mark it again:
Sue: It annoyed me. What were they thinking, starting a new Doctor with a load of crap like that? It’s not right.