Spearhead from Space Episode 4:
There are many great moments in this, the final instalment, not least the spooky scenes set in Madame Tussaud's world famous Civil Servant Exhibit! This is a brilliant touch - rooting the horror in the middle of the recognisable (especially back when a visit to a poxy waxwork museum was a dream come true for any eight year old boy).
Now, Liz Shaw is supposed to be a brilliant scientist and everything, and yet she makes this rather ridiculous claim: "The rest of the world are fast asleep". Er, no, they aren't. There is another hemisphere (or is that spear?), you know.
And here it is - the bit we've all been waiting for. Russell the Davies' all-time favourite Doctor Who moment (according to SFX). So pay attention.
It's dated, hasn't it? In fact, my memory cheats at this point; I thought that bit in Kevin Davies' documentary when Gary Davies (sorry, Russell) actually puts his hand through the window occurred here instead. What we do get is a stock BBC sound effect of some glass breaking. It's on the same CD as 'Water splash for murders committed by guns hidden in daffodils). And who remembers those little green tents that workmen used to hide in? No, not you Paul. I'm sure I remember Rod Hull and Emu doing something Who-ey in one of those, once.
But I digress. As dawn invasions go this one is pretty good. Fantastic, even. Just imagine this scene on a budget...
Cue the guys from HAVOC! The UNIT shoot-out in an alleyway is just fantastic. Just like that time against the Cybermen - but in colour! All we needed was Pertwee running away with his hands cellotaped to his arse as plumes of brown smoke engulfed him.
The Nestene itself is a bit of a mixed bag. A bag mixed with dripping, shower gel and sick, to be precise. It's wonderfully disgusting and only spoilt when its rubber (not plastic, strangely) tentacles break loose to provoke Pertwee into a display of gurning that won't be matched again until 1987.
My final analysis of Spearhead:
I enjoyed it immensely. It's dated better than any other other Doctor Who story I can think of, thanks for the ridiculously high production values and real location work. The script is witty, inventive and genuinely scary, and the acting is strong across the board. If Davies is using this as a template for 'Rose' then I'm sold. Actually, if I'm not very much mistaken this episode will also provide a template of sorts for the two-part 'Aliens of London' story too.
And that's it for the first round in our DW Stripped Down session. Thanks to everyone who has taken part so far. It's been fun!
We kick off again on Monday with part one of Pyramids of Mars. Ten points to the first person who can connect that story with Russell the Davies.
Damn it. I've just realised that my copy of Pyramids is stuck in storage about 20 miles away, hidden in the middle of hundreds of blank CDs. Oh well. I've ordered it from Amazon's rental service and hopefully it'll be here by Monday...