Planet of Giants
I remember when I first met Simon eleven years ago all he knew about Doctor Who was ‘it’s about a blue rectangle, isn’t it?’ Alas that was at the tender age of sixteen and born into the period where his formative years were during the decade and a half hiatus from TV he had never found it necessary to see what all the fuss was about. Then he fell in love with a Doctor Who fan…
Now it astonishes me how much he has picked up as a non fan, some of it must rub off from my enthusiasm, other bits he has picked up dipping into the classic series and recently on a long trip to a job interview he listed all of the Doctor’s companions in a row without hesitation! Now that’s commitment! I’m sure you’ve all been here, wracking your brains trying to decide which stories to show a non-fan to introduce them to the different eras. Tom Baker was a pretty safe bet an he loved Genesis and Talons, Colin Baker was a surprise hit in Trial of a Time Lord and he would happily watch any Jon Pertwee story because he likes the UNIT set up very much. Davison and McCoy were instantly rejected and Troughton despite so many missing stories he really took to his heart. I was really reluctant to show him any creaky, slow Hartnell stories fearing his mirth (he loves the flashier, fast paced TV of today) and yet he caught me watching The Gunfighters one afternoon as he returned from work and quickly tried to fight me for the remote as I tried to turn it off. He absolutely loved it! The music, the jokes, the rubbish accents and especially Hartnell who made him roar with laughter at his ‘I’m afraid I don’t touch alcohol but a little glass of milk and I’ll only be too delighted!’ He asked to see more first Doctor stories – he lapped up The Romans, adored the madness of The Chase and even thought The Web Planet was ‘brave like only Doctor Who can be.’ His one complaint about the era was of Susan who he finds a worthless, shrieking harridan (he made me turn off The Keys of Marinus because ‘my ears are melting with all her screaming!’). So it was with mixed feelings that I put in the tape of Planet of Giants…
Ian and Susan encounter a giant ant and Simon admits ‘that looks pretty good, you know.’ Although the Doctor’s granddaughter continues to irritate: ‘Why is she so hysterical? She’s always screaming? Ian and Barbara walk around calmly investigating and she’s off her face all the time stressing every discovery! Its like having Colin Baker back!’
The episode continues for some time and Simon says very little. I check to see if he has fallen asleep and he notices me looking concerned. ‘I’m not making comments because this is quite good. The acting is natural, the characters hold my attention and there is a good message in there for children about the ecology of the planet.’ I point out that The Mark of the Rani had several moments that touched on the subject to which he responds ‘Did it? That was nonsense compared to this.’
‘Considering this was made 50 years ago they’ve made a remarkable job of convincing that the Doctor and friends are one inch tall. There’s a few duff elements like that obvious blow up picture but on the whole I am convinced.’ The Doctor comments that at this size it would be planes versus bees to which Simon enthuses ‘Ooh do we get to see that?’ I tell him not to get his hopes up.
Simon is unconvinced about Ian suddenly finding his friends so suddenly: ‘They are one inch tall in a massive garden, how on Earth did Ian discover the rest of them so suddenly? Probably heard Susan screeching.’
As we move into episode two Simon shows no signs of fatigue at watching the story. Indeed he keeps asking questions about their situation about ten seconds before Ian and Barbara ask the exact same questions and he notes how intelligent they are! In a moment that makes him choke with laughter and one that he forces me to rewind to watch over and again the Doctor and co are menaced by a ‘huge leg!’ and it appears that the Doctor pushes Barbara over to make his escape! Simon notes: ‘No time for you Barbara – shove!’
He loves the drainpipe set, suggesting it really suggests their scale.
For a moment he gives Susan a breather from groaning and sighing at her and moves on to Barbara. He doesn’t understand why she won’t tell Ian that she has touched the insecticide suggesting ‘its better to be thought of as an idiot than dead!’ Barbara asks Ian if he can get the flap open much to Simon’s amusement! She does a big girlie faint in front of the fly and he is considering reassessing Barbara’s worth.
Suddenly… ‘Ian! Barbara! Can you hear me?’ Simon: ‘Oh no its Susan screaming! Run Ian and Barbara! There’s still time to get squashed before she catches up with you!’
Simon is extremely impressed with the sink set which he claims ‘wouldn’t look any better than that if it was made today.’
‘Move your fat arse, bitch!’ Simon screams at Barbara as she takes forever to climb up the plug chain and Ian gives her a heft push up the posterior!
I love his observation about the pace of the story. ‘Some people would call this slow paced and by today’s standards it is but surely the point of telling a story about one inch tall people is that would take an age to work out how to achieve the simplest of things.’ Suddenly Simon starts looking around the room and imagining he is one inch tall himself! He notes the bedside lamp bulb, the height from the bed to the floor, falling into a mug of tea – ‘its quite interesting to imagine yourself at that height. Now we know how the woodlouse feel!’
Unconvinced by their plan to use the telephone, he admits that could all use a good nap when they get back to the TARDIS!
‘Burn her skin!’ ‘Cut her hands!’ ‘Kill Susan!’ These are Simon’s three unpractical solutions to Barbara’s poisonous dilemma!
Whilst the story has concentrated mostly on the Doctor’s shrunken woes Simon is not sure that the story is wrapped up very efficiently. ‘I know the policeman turns up and everything but we never find out if they find the body or if the insecticide is stopped, there are lots of unanswered questions, aren’t there?’
Again Simon is full of praise for the visualisation of the story, which he states has ‘very good sets, imaginatively designed to suggest the characters scale without breaking the budget.’ He suggests they have it easy these days being able to create all these environments with CGI but ‘this takes real skill.’
William Hartnell has struck up another winner it seems with Simon declaring his performance ‘funny and entertaining, he’s not as loud and theatrical as Colin Baker was in the last story and he manages to calm a situation down and steal the scenes without going over the top.’
A very healthy 7.5/10 for Planet of Giants which Simon says was ‘much better than Mark of the Rani by which all stories shall now be judged! Sorry I didn’t make many comments but I was really enjoying the story!’
His last word: ‘Mark of the Rani was released on DVD before this?’
From Colin Baker all the way back to Season 2 this month as Charlotte and I settle down to watch Planet of Giants. Other than the featured TARDIS team I’ve told her nothing about the story, so any conclusions she draws are her own. I’ve not told her where it’s set or anything about what’s going on...
Episode 1 – ‘Planet of Giants’
It look like there’s a fault with the TARDIS. The doors are open, and the Doctor is investigating the console.
“He’s got very long fingers.” I suppose he has, I’d never noticed!
Quick, get those doors closed!
“I’ve always wondered how the door on the outside looks different from the doors on the inside. There are two open on the inside and only one that opens on the outside!” Erm...dimensional transcendentalism? Budget? Forgetfulness? Still apparently there is no fault with the Ship, but the Doctor really should check. “You talk in riddles,” says Ian.
“He does that forever more!”
Some curiosity about the Doctor’s apparel.
“I wonder what colour his cloak is?” Is it wrong that I don’t know? Should I? I’m going to get my fan badge taken off me, aren’t I? Still, never mind that! Disaster strikes! The scanner’s exploded!
“Oh no!” Quite!
The girls leave the console room and Ian talks to the Doctor.
“I like the way that when the girls have gone he can ask the Doctor for the honest and scary truth.”
The TARDIS has landed, but it looks...different.
“The TARDIS looks small.” Hmm...why could that be?
The crew agree to split up – will they ever learn?
“It’s never a good idea to split up – one of them always gets caught!”
The Doctor and Barbara come across something odd-looking.
“It looks like a giant worm, and earthworm.” Surely not...
Meanwhile Susan and Ian come across something else. Is it an egg? Ian thinks not, it’s too large.
“Why couldn’t it be? They could be on another planet!” Very true, but the truth in this instance is far stranger. And look, a giant ant!
The Doctor comes to the conclusion that what they’ve found is a worm.
“Have they been miniaturised? That’s an ant and an earthworm now!” Got it in one! Told you it was strange!
Ian’s chanced upon a matchbox, and hops in for a closer look.
“Well don’t get in it! You’ll only get stuck – or there’ll be a spider in it!”
The TARDIS crew realise that they have been miniaturised!
“I did say it looked small. That’s brilliant!” Rather unique and wonderful – who
thought Doctor Who would try that, and years before Land of the Giants too!
But wait – a hand picks up the match box!
“Oh no! Ian’s still in it!”
Charlotte has a chuckle as Ian wobbles around in the matchbox, doing his best moving from side to side acting. The three that are left agree they need to see where they are, but the Doctor is insistent that he looks, not wanting his companions to injure themselves.
“The thing is, he doesn’t worry about the companions going out of the TARDIS first! Why worry now?” Indeed!
Now we see two men talking. Are they normal size? Yes. One is talking about an insecticide that the other has been making and deems it unsafe. The man who’s made the insecticide – Forester – isn’t happy about this though. The other man, Farrow, is apparently now on holiday!
“He’s on holiday? He’s wearing a suit! It’s hot, why’s he not wearing shorts and a t-shirt?” It was the Sixties, a different time.
Forester apparently never admits the word ‘can’t’ to exist. At least I hope it’s ‘can’t’...
“What! Did he say...” No, it was ‘can’t’ – I hope! “Well said, I hate that word myself.” What, can’t? Oh you mean...
But what’s this? Farrow can’t let the insecticide go into production, so Forester pulls out a gun! So shocked is Charlotte that she has a sudden intake of breath.
Our trio have found a dead bee, then hear a sound. Not thunder, it sounds like “an ancient cannon.” We know what that means...
“Oh no!” Farrow is dead.
Ian meanwhile gets out of the matchbox.
“He always looks so calm.”
Behind Ian is the huge dead face of Farrow.
“It looks like he’s at the cinema! I expected to see a few cars parked up.” Are they showing Planet of Giants? But what’s that?
“Uh oh! I just saw a cat!”
The TARDIS crew catch up with Ian and talk about their predicament.
“They keep referring to everything as huge, but they know they’re tiny!”
Some strange music sounds as...the cat reappears looming over our heroes! Cue next time title card! Charlotte makes a very good point over the closing credits.
“The Doctor seemed to agree with Barbara about it being ok to kill insects deemed as pests. But the Doctor wouldn’t agree with a ‘higher’ race killing a ‘lower’ race that they thought of as pests.” A very interesting point.
Episode 2 – ‘Dangerous Journey’
The cat still lurks, but what are the crew doing?
“What’s Barbara doing? Susan’s got her eyes shut!” Maybe if they wish hard enough it’ll go away...and soon it does! It must be magic, or the noise of people.
Ian can see a huge leg.
“A huge leg! Stomping around on its own?” I’m assuming it’s attached to a person, but...now what’s he doing? Not in there!
“Ian’s being silly again! Why’s he getting in a bag?” A pause. “I can’t believe Ian got in that bag, and he took Barbara in as well!” And he’s a teacher! What hope is there for the children of Coal Hill School?
The Doctor meanwhile tells Susan that up the drainpipe is the only way into the house.
“There’s a cat, so isn’t there a cat flap?” A drainpipe obviously is more fun for the Doctor! Or he’s not bothered to check. Either way, he and Susan begin to climb up it.
“I like the way they explain things to the viewer, like how they can get up the inside of the drainpipe – it’s all corroded!”
Ian and Barbara leave the bag which has been placed on a workbench. There’s a pile of seeds, and Barbara touches one. She’ll regret that later!
A brief word of praise for the surroundings.
“The props are all quite good. Everything looks like it should.”
A fly lands on the seeds and causes Barbara to faint! The Doctor and Susan have climbed up the pipe and are now in the sink. Meanwhile Barbara wakes up...but the fly is dead! That doesn’t bode well!
Susan and the Doctor call for their friends, the sink amplifying their voices. The TARDIS team reunite and talk about the situation.
“Everyone talks to Susan like she’s a bit stupid!” She is a lot younger, but even so...
The Doctor and Susan duck back down into the sink, just before the taps are turned on! Next episode: ‘Crisis’.
The theme music kicks in.
“I really do like the music from these ones.” It’s very haunting, the stuff of nightmares!
Episode 3 – ‘Crisis’
Thank goodness! The plug is in the sink!
“It’s a good job he knows how to wash his hands properly! He’s taking so long! Does anyone put the plug in wash their hands anymore? Maybe not, but thank goodness they did back then!
Ian and Barbara ponder on what’s happened to the other two, while Charlotte ponders on the sets.
“What I like is that the sets must have been quite small, but I find them quite convincing.”
Barbara doesn’t seem overly worried about the Doctor and Susan.
“Why’s she not more upset?” Probably more worried about dying like the fly did! Charlotte reflects on the companions of this era in comparison to more recent ones.
“Modern day female companions seem to be a lot less weak. Sometimes these ones seem a bit feeble – they faint! The men can be a bit patronising towards them too.”
Thinking back to Barbara now and why she’s not died yet, Charlotte comes up with a logical possibility.
“Why did the fly die instantly? Maybe there’s a difference between vertebrates and invertebrates.” Why can’t I think that logically?
The Doctor and Susan survived by hiding in the overflow, and now the four of them are gathering near the phone. But what are they up to?
“Are they going to try to ring someone?” It seems so!
Whilst they can’t be heard, clever Hilda at the telephone exchange knows something is wrong and rings back only to get Forester and then Forester impersonating Farrow! She sends policeman Bert to investigate, who puts his helmet on and heads out.
“Did he just put his strap under his nose? Didn’t they bother to see if it fit before they gave it to him?” It would seem not!
The TARDIS crew decide to start a fire to attract attention to the house by opening a gas tap and holding a lighted match to it.
“That’s a big dangerous isn’t it? He’s going to be holding it and lighting the end! He can barely carry it!”
Luckily it works out alright, and the gas tap is lit.
“Drop the match and run!”
The flame explodes a canister of insecticide in Forester’s face, and Bert arrives and arrests him and his scientist Smithers. Excellent!
The TARDIS team seems to click their heels three times and they’re back in the Ship! We don’t see the journey back, even though it took them an episode and a half to make the original trip!
“Oh. That was a very underwhelming ending!”
The Doctor takes off and they return to normal size, as indicated by the seed. The amount of insecticide on Barbara is so small that she’s absolutely fine now.
“I really liked that everything was convincing enough to make you believe it. The noises, the sets and the props. I think the acting was quite good considering how little space they had to act in. I did however notice the bad editing at the end.”
And a score for this story?
“7/10. It would have been higher if it had been better edited.”
Next Time: The Claws of Axos
I stick the DVD of Mark of the Rani into the player and Simon inspects the cover. ‘Is she called the Rani or just Rani? Was she actually christened “the”?’ The story begins and Simon is unconvinced by the opening sequences. ‘What’s this, Worzel Gummidge?’ he asks also noting that he cannot understand any of the Welsh accents! I point out that it wasn’t set in Wales to which he responds ‘Of course its set in Wales, it s a mining village!’
We cut to the TARDIS console room and he is unconvinced about Peri’s contributions, ‘She has absolutely no purpose here! She might as well have been on the loo for all she adds to this scene – he could have just muttered all that exposition to himself!’ It gets worse when they leave the TARDIS and he sees the full horror of her costume, ‘What on Earth is she wearing? She looks like she should be protecting a toilet roll! If this was made now she would head straight back into the TARDIS and put on something more suitable for the scenery.’ He’s also extremely worried that Peri’s frightening cleavage might escape her tight blouse!
Simon is not exactly sure what is going on but he is disturbed that as Peri hoists up her skirts and we cut to a wet towel fight that this might be some weird 19th Century porn! The scripting of Pip’n’Jane comes under scrutiny when the Doctor says he is keeping an open mind about why the machinery was wrecked, ‘He knows where they are and he knows that machinery was wrecked in that time – there’s no deductive reasoning in these scenes its just supposition.’
‘Why was the Master a scarecrow? Are you telling me he just hung about in that field until the Doctor showed up? What was the point of that? And what’s all the marks on those guys necks?’ At least the huge marks of the Rani haven’t been missed!
Peri once again comes under scrutiny when she rather limply throws lumps of coal at the Doctor’s attackers. ‘Pathetic’ Simon sums this scene up with. He’s also not sure why the unconscious guy opens his mouth and starts chewing when the maggot is prised inside.
It is at this point that Simon’s mum enters the room. She has found her blood pressure kit and would like to see if it still works properly. ‘Please do’ he says, ‘I’m watching Colin Baker.’ We are all shocked to discover he is 120 over 80, perfectly normal! Proof if it was need that a Pip and Jane Baker story does not raise your blood pressure.
Simon is still confused about the Rani’s name. ‘The Master walks in and just calls her Rani as if its her name but the Doctor goes ‘well, well, well…the Rani!’ Get over it, pet. Simon much prefers the Rani to the Doctor and ponders that she should have been the hero since she’s far more likable than Baker’s Doctor (who just sort of bellows all the time!).
Nicola Bryant comes under fire as she heads in to rescue the Doctor and hangs around as the three Time Lords have a loquacious bitch fight. ‘She’s so stiff and wooden, she just sort of stands there like she’s on stage!’
Episode one is over and Simon is not impressed. ‘It’s not very good is it? I have no idea why the Master is there (and what he was doing standing in a field), Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant treat the story like a stage play and over emphasise everything (they are theatrical rather than natural) and in all honesty I have no idea what is going on! Why can’t it be called the Master and the Rani show?’ Simon is still perturbed that he needed the subtitles to understand the Brummie accents! He comments that if this story was made today the Luddite riots would have been treated far more dramatically, with more exciting set pieces and drama.
We get some tea and settle down for part two. Whilst shaking his head in disbelief at Peri pushing the Doctor down the hill he wonders how on earth it manages to stay on the path for so long without crashing, managing to turn every corner with effortless skill! ‘Run Doctor run!’ screams Peri and Simon asks if someone could knock her out!
For a moment all is silent and I wonder if Simon has finally been gripped by the story. ‘Luke has a very tight package, doesn’t he?’ he comments. Groan.
At this stage he yawns and says, ‘How much longer is this?’ Never a good sign.
Simon is quite impressed by the Rani’s TARDIS claiming it is much ‘sexier’ than the Doctor’s.
‘Everyone seems to have forgotten that the TARDIS is stuck down a hole! Even me!’ The Doctor suggests Peri stays with Lord Ravensworth to see what she can do. ‘Bore them to sleep, probably!’ He’s annoyed at Colin Baker’s constant quoting of poetry saying that he is ‘always talking nonsense.’
He boggles when Luke has the biggest case of wood he has ever seen! ‘What was the point of turning him into a tree? What was the purpose of that? Never mind Peri, she’s wooden enough already!’ The Rani asks if Peri can walk without falling flat on her face: ‘No!’ screams Simon.
I tell him at this point that the show was put on hiatus after season twenty-two. ‘Hardly surprising’, he muses.
I ask him for something positive and he said ‘It looks very nice. You could never tell it was 25 years old. Plus the Rani was very good, she alone kept my interest.’
An unmemorable 5/10 for Simon then and his final word on the story is ‘dull’.
Charlotte has been watching Doctor Who with me for the past 5 or 6 years, and has seen most of it now, right back to An Unearthly Child. Now, over time, we’re going to watch them again, but in a random order and I’m going to note her reactions. It’s a different take on the Time Team - the thoughts of a non-fan.
Story 1 – The Mark of the Rani
The opening titles – The Mark of the Rani.
“Oh not the Rani!”
It doesn’t bode well! Now we see an industrial town, a mining one by the looks of the machinery. It seems vaguely familiar...
“It’s like one of those towns you visit when you’re a kid!”
Miners are knocking off their shift and heading to the bath house.
“Quite nice music actually. Not like the usual sound effects. It’s proper music!”
The men reach the bath house and begin undressing as smoke pours in and they fall to the ground. Meanwhile, in the TARDIS, Peri is attired in...erm...
“What is she wearing? She looks like she’s trying to be Snow White!”
“Peri is just there to explain things to the audience!”
Pretty much just that! The TARDIS lands and our intrepid duo exit – into the cold it seems...
“You can see her nipples!”
Indeed! Meanwhile, back in the bath house the men have left somewhat changed. Running about, upsetting things and brawling! Interesting choreography...
“Was that a real fight or a pretend fight?”
I’m not sure. They certainly don’t like those potatoes though.
The TARDIS crew are wandering in a field. The Doctor realises that there are no birds, but why could that be?
“Well, there is a scarecrow!”
Charlotte gets there before our heroes, but wait – that scarecrow moved! Will it be important later?
Back to the men, and this time they’re attacking a cart carrying some kind of machinery. Bloody Luddites! But, what’s that they’re saying?
“Are they speaking English?”
Your guess is as good as mine! Luckily though the Doctor arrives...but too late, the damage is done! A good time to reflect on our leads’ costumes.
“In those colours the Doctor and Peri look like they’re in a pantomime!”
Well they aren’t exactly subtle, that’s for sure! But wait, the mention of a real historical figure! George Stephenson! Let’s hope we get to meet him!
An old crone accosts a young boy, asking him to send the men to the bath house. I wonder who she could be?
“Isn’t that the Rani?”
Erm, yes, yes it is. Not exactly a foolproof disguise, not like the Master. If only he were around to show her how it’s done....hang on....who’s that pulling straw out of his sleeves?
“What? Is that the Master?” Yep. He was the scarecrow it seems, though God only knows why! “Talking to himself! That’s because he hasn’t got a companion! He has to talk to himself!”
That makes a hell of a lot of sense!
Back to the Doctor and Peri, and they’re not getting in without a pass.
“A visitor’s pass!” I wonder how much a family ticket to this real-life working town is? And more importantly, do they sell pencils with the name of the place on?
The Doctor and Peri have found themselves guarded by a dog who keeps barking at them.
“I wonder if someone behind the door’s pulling his tail?” Probably. It was the Eighties – anything goes! Suddenly it’s gone! And so our heroes make good their exit.
Someone else is trying to get in...and what’s that he’s holding?
“Is that his dildo?” Erm, sort of...and now it’s glowing at people! “What does it do to them?” It makes them small. “Where are they then?” Erm....
The Master meets those crazy Luddites and tells a fib about the Doctor. Trouble is, he’s standing in front of a dark background wearing dark clothes...
“The Master looks like he’s a floating head!” I wouldn’t put it past him! But what’s he got now? “His magic wand!” First a sex toy, now this! Is there no end to this man’s ingenuity? Or should that be depravity?
We’re back with the Doctor and Peri, and there’s more to say about her outfit...
“The costume designers didn’t consider her frame when making that – she’s all boob! Top heavy!”
Watch out Doctor! The Luddites are attacking! Look out for that mine shaft...Phew, the Doctor’s survived, the men either in the pit or scared off by Ravensworth’s gun. Lord Ravensworth takes the Doctor to his office where he gives the Time Lord a dressing down – VIPs indeed!
“He’s been told!”
Apparently, Lord Ravensworth has always had an excellent relationship with the men!
“What does he mean by that?” Quite! Dirty beggar!
Back with the Master and he’s using his ‘magic wand’ once more to open a wooden door.
“The Doctor’s doesn’t do wood! His does wood!” The Doctor could really do with one of those.
Now it’s the Rani’s turn to come under scrutiny...
“I think the Rani’s forehead is almost as big as the Master’s!” Anything else? “She’s almost the same colour as that mountain painting behind her!” She is! Uncanny!
We’re back in Ravensworth’s office once more, and Peri’s constant whinging isn’t appreciated.
“Peri – ‘I’m whining!’ How does the Doctor put up with them?” Probably because they make him feel clever, but still, there’s only so much someone can take!
More to-ing and fro-ing and we’re back with the Rani and the Master.
“Are they brother and sister? They’ve both got triangular eyebrows!” Good grief, ‘tis true! They certainly bicker like siblings.
The Doctor checks the faces of the pit workers, and comes up with an ingenious plan to get to the bottom of the mystery – he’s going to black up! Oh really Doctor! And even so, is it really going to work?
“He’s a bit conspicuous still. He’s got bright yellow trousers!”
The Master meanwhile is in the mine, and he’s about to win the prize for being the first to say the name of the story out loud as he finds a mark on a man’s neck.
“But it’s got bigger!” Come on consistency, where are you?
“He’s very conspicuous!” He may have been noticed as suddenly there is...gas! He falls to the floor as do the other men.
“I thought he couldn’t get overcome by gas?” They’re just making it up as they go along! Still, at least the Master has a cunning plan involving maggots and hypnotism. The Rani though is deciding to give the Doctor the wash that he went to the bath-house for.
“Does she need to wash his face to know it’s him?” These Time Lords – half the time they know each other straight away, the other half....Now she’s knows it’s the Doctor it’s time for a chat.
“She accused him of being smug and he accused Peri of that earlier! Smugness all round!” Smug he may be, but he can also leapt to conclusions in a single bound. He somehow knows exactly what the Rani’s been doing!
“How did he get that?” God alone knows! Still, Peri finds the Doctor, and it’s he who is bound for once! Elsewhere, some Luddites are moving the TARDIS. That can’t be good!
“What? Surely the TARDIS would be extremely heavy, or is it lighter on the outside than the inside?”
The Master, the Rani and the Doctor all argue and the Master forces Peri to push the Doctor’s trolley outside. The Master is distracted, the Doctor kicks away his weapon and they’re off! Only Peri’s lost control! Fear not, the Luddites have finished throwing the TARDIS down the mine shaft – surely they’ll help? But oh no, they haven’t! They’re putting the Doctor on a train track, heading straight for the hole the TARDIS went down!
“He’ll think twice about wearing bright yellow trousers again!”
Thankfully the Doctor is saved by George Stephenson! Peri however is being chased by Luddites!
“How can see outrun them in those shoes and skirt? They do physical work everyday! They should easily outrun her!” Quite!
Lord Ravensworth wants all the able-bodies men rounded up now!
“I haven’t seen any dis-able bodied people!”
The men are talking, but what are they saying?
“How does Peri understand them? It’s a different dialect but the same language. But she has travelled in the TARDIS – would the TARDIS translate?” Here’s hoping!
The Master’s back, lurking in dark alleys now...
“What that collar he looks like a Pierrot!” Oui! What’s he doing now? Oh, actually using his hypnotism skills for once! Poor Luke! The Master wants him to swallow his...
“Sweet meat!” Ooh er!
The Luddites are attacking the Doctor once more – watch out! Lots of barrels! JUMP!
“He couldn’t jump over that surely?” He...somehow just moved round a bit. How did you manage that Doctor? Peripheral vision you say?
“Is that a play on her name?” I’m rather afraid that it is! Oh Doctor!
Back to the Master once more, and it looks like he’s got something on his collar...
“It looks like little men!” Bizarre dress sense these Time Lords have!
“He sounds like a horse!”
Luke and Stephenson have a chat, but their accents don’t convince.
“Couldn’t they get some real Northern people to play Northern people?” Apparently not!
Now Luke’s having a chat with Lord Ravensworth, but don’t make him angry! He’s under the Master’s control! Phew, all ok as we then return to the Doctor and Peri heading to the bath house, and it’s Peri’s accent under scrutiny now!
“Couldn’t they get a real American either?” Ouch! Our heroes have found a secret door now!
“All of these doors have the same noise!” They make sound similar, but there’s some praise for the sets...
“The walls look good though – old and dirty.”
Now we’re back with that other bickering double act, and the Master’s got something the Rani wants apparently!
“His magic stick!” Erm...maybe. If that’s the case, let’s hope they’re not brother and sister! They’re off down t’pit now...
But what’s happening with the Doctor and Peri? A volcano exploding?! And what’s the Doctor got?
“What did he do? I thought he was just measuring the room!” It’s a...screen? “It’s just a screen! How did the gas come out of the volcano in a screen?” That Rani is a genius you know! I’m sure there’s some diabolical method behind it.
The Master and the Rani are now in the Rani’s TARDIS, chatting away once more.
“Do you think these exiled Time Lords go the way they are because they’re on their own all the time? Going mad in a massive space?” Well, it would explain a lot! What about the Rani’s TARDIS?
“I like the middle part of the console!”
Out they go, but what’s that the Rani’s got? A remote control?
“Why did the Doctor never make a remote control? The amount of times he’s needed one!”
So, what about the Doctor?
“I can see why his enemies don’t like him – the clothes that he wears! It’s sickening! You can’t look at it for too long!” Well he has had better outfits, that’s for sure!
In Ravensworth’s office a man is tied to a chair. But what’s he up to?
“Is he having a fit? His mouth’s open – it looks like he’s shouting but there’s no sound! I wonder how they told him to act?”
Peri’s complaining about her “ridiculous skirts”.
“You’re telling me!”
Uh-oh, what are the Master and the Rani up to now? Laying mines! Hiding them under leaves!
“A good job it’s autumn, isn’t it?”
The Doctor meanwhile is walking in the woods too...
“A spider’s web – is he walking into a trap?” The Doctor certainly thinks so.
Oh no! Luke’s being menaced by the Master!
“He was pointing his dirty stick at him!” Oh Master! But Luke is safe for now until...look out, mine!
“Where’d he go?” As if by magic, something else appears in his place...”A tree?!” ...which then ‘holds’ Peri to protect her. Don’t worry Peri, it won’t hurt you! The Doctor points the Master’s erm...weapon...at him and the Rani while Peri is in the middle of the minefield!
“They’re chatting away and tells Peri not to move! Has she got to wait ‘til they’ve finished?” C’mon Doctor, get your act together! Ah that’s more like it, telling the Rani to disarm her mines and guide Peri to safety.
“They just need a leaf-blower really.”
The Rani tells Peri that she’s got to jump!
“Why don’t they walk round it?”
Back safely, and the Doctor entrusts Peri with the Master and the Rani while the Doctor heads off. As they depart we have a shot of the tree that once was Luke.
“I half expected to see it waving at them!”
“Spit roast! And I don’t mean in the rude sense!”
The men carrying the Doctor both suddenly turn into trees.
“It’s lucky it was both of them!”
The Master has tried to hypnotise Peri and failed, so the Rani throws some glitter at her so the pair of mischievous Time Lords can escape.
“Uh-oh, fairy dust!”
The Doctor escapes from the trees and uses his pole as a minesweeper to get safely away and find Peri. The Master and the Rani escape in her TARDIS, and when the Master tries to fiddle with her console...
“Did she kick him in the balls?” Yes, yes she did. All is not right though...the dinosaur’s on the floor and it’s growing! Time spillage!
“How come the dinosaur isn’t affected like they are?” How indeed.
The Doctor and Peri return to the TARDIS and leave, a bemused Stephenson and Ravensworth watching as the ship dematerialises.
So, a score from Charlotte: “Story – 5/10, Acting – 7/10, Costume – 9/10, Sets – 10/10, Music – 8/10, Dialogue – 7/10. Overall – 7/10.”
Not too bad. Let’s see how it fares next time on the PLANET OF GIANTS!