|Originally Broadcast 5th October 1977|
Written by: Chris Boucher
Everything I asked for after viewing part one enters into the fray in this episode, making it a vast improvement in those areas at least.
Unfortunately it’s the other areas that are slipping a bit now, as Dennis Lill, despite being a fantastic actor in other performances (Only Fools And Horses for instance) can’t make up his mind whether he’s German or American. It’s a shame as he is a great actor but he does still carry some weight in this performance, accent aside and gets important plot points to deliver too, an actors dream.
I’m not overly fond of the story, as it’s a little tricky and, at times, uninteresting to follow, as well as not travelling miles in two parts, but it does have it’s interests. It’s strong point is definitely the characterisation given to not just the regulars, but to the supporting cast, who, to be honest, are better than our TARDIS duo in these episodes as they have more to do.
I’m not knocking Louise Jameson or Tom Baker, as when they get a scene they really shine, Baker gets some funny little scenes such as when he’s accused of having curly hair or when he talks to the skull (Alas, poor skull). As for Louise, she gets separated from the Doctor for the entire episode, giving her a chance to shine on her own, which she does and in style. Leela is one of my favourite companions because she gets good interaction with anyone not from her own time zone. Whilst she’s best when ‘learning’ from the Doctor, she’s great here too.
Director Spenton-Foster is still trying to push the boundaries of British Television on a budget too far, giving us the odd poor looking shot, which is a shame as he’s coming off worse than he should when perhaps he was struggling to meet the script requirements on his budget. The only other Doctor Who he directed was 1978’s The Ribos Operation, so maybe it’s worth me revisiting that soon to see just how well he copes on his year away from the show?
Funny trivia: When the Doctor offers the skull a jelly baby, it’s clearly a liquorice allsorts in his hand.