|Originally Broadcast 20th September 1980|
Written by: David Fisher
This part was a huge improvement from the previous; despite still having it’s flaws. I seemed more into the adventure here, there were more ‘fun elements’ that go into a Doctor Who, There was the amazingly brilliant David Haig as Pangol, a mad dictator-like child, the Doctor x infinity wandering about the place giving decent dialogue in that booming unmistakable Tom Baker voice and Howell’s score is still holding up, as is Adrienne Cori’s Mena, who’s desperately trying to hold off for the end of the storyline.
Where this episode is let down, is in the final three, maybe four minutes which, for want of a better term, turn into absolute trash. The events of the story are solved by a macguffin of the Doctor leaving a machine on a certain setting before creating a terrible looking stock footage explosion, which results in the rest of the story turning into pantomime. And if anybody accuses late 1980s Who of being like panto, watch these last two/three minutes and rethink your evaluation. The acting and dialogue suddenly turns wooden as everyone turns jolly and a baby turns up. Upon recording this scene it must have been close to ‘lights off’ at ten pm, as the baby won’t stop crying with Mena desperate to shout her lines over it. If it were, say, an hour earlier, then surely this wouldn’t have gone out in this format? It’s painful!
The last scene with the Doctor and Romana was meant to be fun and a nice lead in to Meglos or wherever we go next, but instead feels rushed and a bit pointless, like a heaily-needed tack on to the end to make it a little bit closer to the running time the show needed but didn’t have.
Before turning my back on The Leisure Hive for another year or two, it has to be said again, the best, best, best thing about this serial is Adrienne Cori and David Haig, who are really fantastic throughout this storyline.