|Originally Broadcast 2nd November 1987|
Written by: Malcolm Kohll
In a nutshell: Gavrok and the Bannermen are hunting Delta, the Chimeron Queen as she escapes to 1959 Earth aboard a bus/spaceship full of aliens, which also happens to carry Mel and the Doctor.
Review: There’s very few good things to comment on about this episode, however the budget does go to good use. I’m always hearing how the 1980s (especially late 1980s) suffered from incredibly poor budget allocations but they must’ve had a good deal shelled out onto this episode. I mean, fair enough, not many of the effects look great, but there are a lot of them used here, such as the flying bus, the spaceship (looking very “You Only Live Twice”), the transformation from alien to bus driver and the list goes on. I think there’s more effects used here than in the majority of other sole episodes in the show.
Now moving onto acting (or rather, attempts at acting), it’s incredibly hard to find good performances with some cast members. Belinda Mayne’s Delta is very wooden, especially in her opening scenes, where she’s meant to have an army at her control (I’m guessing) to fight the Bannermen army. However all sides and events in this opening scene fails to impress and results in a cheap, tacky feel to match parts of the acting. I’m not sure who’s idea it was for green army soldier toys to be aliens here, all they do is succeed in reminding me of Toy Story and how good that was compared to how good this isn’t.
|Comedian Ken Dodd makes a glittery appearance|
The one character I have to pick out from this episode is the brilliantly camp Johnny Dennis as Murray, it’s such a fantastic and believable portrayal of a tour guide on holiday, he really does make the whole episode that much more enjoyable. This is definitely needed as you get so much more things wasted such as the two FBI agents who are incredibly annoying and serve no purpose (maybe they will later on, but they’ve achieved sod all in part one!). I’m not sure how (in 1959) they got a line through to the White House instantly from a police telephone box, you know, one of those police boxes “in Wales, England”.
McCoy’s Doctor isn’t written at his best for this, he has some good lines of dialogue when he meets Ken Dodd’s Tollmaster but other than that he’s irritating, too heavy on sci-fi mumbo jumbo or just stupid, such as when he sneezes to create the (clichéd written) cliffhanger. The other part of the cliffhanger involves Bonnie Langford screaming so we’ll just move on, shall we?