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Nov 25, 2005

The Five Doctors, Doctored

Chunk the Third - and today (as a tribute, for no particular reason, to Season Sixteen) here are six things I noticed about ‘The Five Doctors’: Penultimate Part.

1. The Raston Warrior Robot - curiously both one of the few original concepts in this story and one of the most effective (you even forgive the fact that it’s largely a bloke in a silver leotard leaping around). And boy does he kick Cyber-Arse (of which more later)!

2. This week’s copyrighted name-checks of ‘The Greatest Time-Lord Who Ever Lived’ ™ - ‘The Black Scrolls of Rassilon’ and ‘The Mind of Rassilon’ (publication of ‘What Rassilon Did Next’ is sadly unknown…)

3. How do the Doctors fare this time out? Well, Davison’s stuck on Gallifrey (apparently filling the role that Tom would have had) where the Castellan is found to be the guilty party (having stashed away Rassilon’s aforementioned Black Scrolls like some kind of Time Lord porn-monger). Led away for interrogation - and let’s hear it for his deathless last line ‘No, not the Mind Probe’, shall we? - he’s conveniently shot dead by Commander Maxil’s replacement. So no suspect, no trial it seems (Doctor Five seems doubtful that the true culprit has been caught; though his judgment may be clouded by all that eye-liner Davison is wearing). Meanwhile, Doctor Two and the Brig are on the run from a Yeti (a real one this time, we assume) leading to some lovely Troughton-esque humour as his Doctor takes an age to empty his pockets and find a glitter-gun (no, not that ‘Glitter’). And Doctor Three and Sarah - having evaded the Raston Robot with the aid of some truly clueless Cybermen - enter the Tower via the scenic route, only for Pertwee to be confronted by some ‘ghosts’ from the past in the form of UNIT’s Liz and Mike (in a rather pointless, but fan-pleasing, cameo). Not forgetting Doctor One (and kindly refrain from referring to him as ‘Doc’, will you) and Tegan who go through the main door and play hopscotch with the Master (not to mention some even more clueless Cybermen).

4. Ah, the Cybermen. This is not a good ‘episode’ for their apologist fans to use in any case for the defence; for we have not one but two slaughterings of the ‘giants’ from Mondas. While the Special Edition attempts to retain them some kudos by showing them actually fire a few shots, the way in which the Raston Warrior Robot hacks them down like a bunch of tailor’s dummies is by far the nadir for these formerly impressive foes. While one of them even seems to have been out for a few last night, judging by the Cyber-vomit that he takes during the massacre. Later, that most unlikely of collaborations between them and the Master sees them fall even further: walking like a bunch of headless chickens over a deadly chess-board that cuts them down with lightning bolts (check out the last Cyberman to cross, who carries on blissfully unaware of his comrades’ fate even though the massacre had commenced before he started crossing).

5. Those extra bits that the Special Edition shoe-horns in in full: thrill to Sarah attempting to ten-pin-bowl a Cyberman down a cliff; gasp at Turlough and Susan trying to stay awake as Cybermen sloooooowly ready their big, big bomb; be amazed by that slightly extended cut of the Master walking down a corridor. How did we cope without all these scenes for nigh-on twelve years?

6. And a mixed bag of thoughts to finish: Why is Sarah’s character being written as though she’s Jo Grant (she was never this thick in the 70s, surely)? How does Tegan know what an entry-coder is (and by the way, what is an entry-coder anyway?)? Why does Sarah say ‘Well, don’t be too long’ when Doctor Three tells her he ‘won’t be a second’ (is she not sure now how long a second is?). And how deranged was Kylie Minogue’s tour designer of a few years back if he thought dressing her as a Raston warrior Robot would make her look sexy (though, on second thoughts…)

And this week’s bowel-trembling cliff-hanger: the Master walks down some steps to a Peter Howell synth accompaniment. Don’t hold your breath all week, will you?

(‘The Bumper Book of Made-Up Doctor Who Facts’ has this to say about (oh you know what I’m talking about by now, surely?): Paul Jericho’s ‘No, not the mind probe’ line took three months to film in order to achieve the right level of banality).


Funny you should mention that about Kylie's stage show designer- my friend knows him (his name is Will) and he's a died in the wool Who fan and DWM subscriber! He even wrote a piece for DWM a few months back
And yes, all the silver clad dancers, and wobbly title graphics backdrops in Kylie's stage tours are therefore quite deliberate

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