Monday, 18 July 2011

Don't Shoot The Pianist

Originally Broadcast 7th May 1966
Episode Two of ‘The Gunfighters’

Written by: Donald Cotton

In a nutshell: Mistaken for Doc Holliday, the Doctor finds himself under threat from the Clanton brothers until Wyatt Earp rescues him. But when Steven’s live is in danger, will the Doctor get a chance to help his friend?

Review: The music is still irritating! The one obvious bad thing to say about this episode is the music. Over the first three minutes of the episode it is played to an extortionate level, hurting my ears at one point. Other than that, I’m not sure how Steven can sing and play the piano; he’s wasted in that TARDIS!

Moving on from the nasty stuff and it’s so obvious how much fun everyone is having on the set of this story, from Hartnell performing his comedy lines such as “The Clanton brothers…Oh no” and turning away to Anthony Jacobs’ Holliday asking if Earp has stolen his liquor, every actor is loving this. With the exception of Peter Purves who has openly admitted not being a fan of having to sing.

Because the script works so beautifully with the infinite amount of changes to the shows format and all the actors are having a great time, it really rubs off on the audience. I had a great time watching this, it was fun, exciting, welcoming, funny as well as being scary and nerve-wracking. It’s everything you could expect from a BBC1 Family/Children’s show, just paired with some poor music played overhand.

Something I thought when watching episode one, which struck me again watching the second part, is how at times this episode feels like a pantomime. A very good one, but still a pantomime. I think it’s due to the nature of the music with some of the shots, but the sets help as well. I think it’s obvious the sets are all studio-built with little space, but it’s such a fantastic achievement on the designer’s part. They all look stunning and believable, especially on the budget provided for the show.

After two parts, I think I can successfully say this is the most enjoyable and easy-to-watch episode of Doctor Who from the William Hartnell years, I can’t wait to press play for episode three; ‘Johnny Ringo’. See you there, faithful reader!

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