In our house growing up in the late 1970’s and 1980’s the family highlight of our TV week was sitting down to watch Dallas, the American super soap opera charting the rise of Texan oil family, the Ewings. There we were every Weds evening sitting on our lumpy sunshine yellow sofa, or the armchair huddled together around our television, cups of tea at the ready absorbing the latest plot instigated by the compelling JR Ewing as a wry grin and laugh would spread across over his face. We did it for so many years together even through the later years when it got a bit ridiculous even by its own standards.

Well there was a second highlight for me that was just mine, on a Saturday early evening after the afternoon wrestling (remember Big Daddy anyone?) and that was watching the latest episode of Doctor Who. I never was a ‘behind the sofa’ girl-child but I do remember having the sofa all to myself, lying there watching a thrilling adventure, the main character all teeth and curls, long coat, scarf, running tall. Yes the one and only Tom Baker had entered my consciousness. He had a huge presence and charisma much like Larry Hagman, with that deep melodious voice he has commanding all eyes on him. I never knew until a few years later there were other Doctors to become a super-fan of but for that 25 minutes for me he was ‘THE DOCTOR ’

If you were to ask me what was the first story I saw well my mind goes fuzzy as I seem to remember that TB Doctor Who episodes were repeated quite a lot over a couple of long rainy summers in the late 1970’s. But I definitely remember Romana (the second- Lalla Ward) in a pink matching Doctory coat walking in a quarry and also Movellans in ‘Destiny of the Daleks’ so that has to be that story for me. Being here is a beginning so it seemed the right time to watch Destiny again this week. We are in such a time of firsts at the moment. The 1st the 12th doctors will be together in a regeneration story at Christmas, there’s a female doctor round the corner….But let discuss Movellans as I need to get something off my chest. Writes note to series 10 production team… “Dear team as someone around the first time that they appeared, that they got a ten second ‘screenshot’ in ‘The Pilot’ (yes I counted all those seconds because I’m a geek) does not in any way, count as a re-appearance” It just didn’t feel worthy showing them for the older fans with so throwaway an appearance or worth doing as it added nothing to the story itself. I won’t use rude words but whoever decided it was a bright idea….was …wrong ….Hmmm ….let it go now….

So back to the original Movellans. I’m torn. On the one hand every time I see them on screen, all with those matching braids and tight white uniforms I can’t help thinking they aren’t unpleasant to look at in a sexy Disco Inferno Disco fever way and I want to put on the song ‘I lost my heart to a Starship Trooper’ (check out the YouTube video it’s happily bonkers). They wouldn’t be out of place either in Blakes 7 as a subservient species of the Federation. I can imagine Servalan summoning one to feed her grapes on a silver platter and indulge her erotic whims.

On the other hand Terry Nation created one of the best dystopian sci-fi series with Blakes 7 ever so it really dissatisfies that he doesn’t give the Movellans a unique selling point to make them a worthy adversary to the Daleks. They are sleek and androgynous, the complete opposite of the dumpy monotone Daleks and they should have had Savitar speed aka the Raston Warrior in ‘The Five Doctors’. The Movellans ability to reanimate themselves after injury isn’t used to any great effect against the Daleks and watching how easily they can be deactivated just by removing their power pack is just poor. I think the Duracell bunny goes on longer than they do. Did anyone else wonder though how they managed to get Romana inside the glass bomb-tube?

Destiny of the Daleks
Destiny of the Daleks

So onto the story itself …. I had a face palm moment when Davros himself said the Movellan’s were ‘another race of robots’. Did Terry Nation forget that there was an organic being inside the casing of his own Dalek creations but I suppose it fed into the narrative for the story? It’s an interesting inventive use of the game rock, paper scissors how the Daleks and Movellans have been at stalemate for over two centuries, both sides’ battle computers calculating the best strategy but not a single shot has been fired. Dare I say it there was something reassuring in that position of mutually assured destruction deadlock for us common normal folk in the 1970 and 1980’s echoed quietly in Destiny of the Daleks.

The Cold War gave two distinct ideological visions of how to achieve the good life: The liberal democracies of the USA and Western Europe were then counterpoised with clear geographical boundaries, marking spheres of influence, from the communist Soviet Union and satellite eastern European states. opposing each other with the United Nations as a principal guarantor of world order. There isn’t a UN here in Destiny to keep a balanced existence, except the Doctor, and unfortunately there isn’t a bigger sense of the Daleks and the Movellans as two super-efficient blocs protecting their national interests and ideological identities. Whereas in Genesis the Daleks are quasi Nazis in a metal jacket, here they seemed watered down, a bit lost by searching for Davros.

However I do enjoy this story despite its faults. It feels like watching an old friend and even though this is probably only the third time I’ve seen it I love the location filming in a Dorset quarry using a Steadicam which looks brilliant. Seeing the Doctor and Romana running up and down those quarries is awesome. I miss all that getting stuck in at a location from classic Who.Nu Who is super slick and no-one really gets dirty anymore. Tim Barlow as Tyssan is giving his all and I can’t believe he was profoundly deaf whilst filming. I doff my imaginary cap off to his acting skills.

There was one scene in Destiny that I really enjoyed and is a highlight and that was when the Daleks burst into the room where the Doctor has Davros and there is the ‘Mexican standoff’ between them. The Doctor should surrender but wont and the Daleks start killing hostages, one, then a second and suddenly I’m really invested in the story wondering how long the Doctor will let the slaughter go on for. It’s an interesting moment which allows the Doctor to make his escape but surely he should have stayed to see the bomb go off and kill Davros?

So my fellow Whovians what was your first story ? Someone asked me the other day what was the earliest story chronologically that I saw and I said ….remember Leela and an enormous rat ….But that’s a whole different story…until next time

Hey Who fans. We get to spend some time with the 3rd Doctor in medieval times in our review of The Time Warrior but first let’s land the TARDIS for our catch up, news and merch…

The News

Some unexpected series 11 news dropped from the official BBC Doctor Who Twitter account recently so we dive into that along with Who picking up an Ally Award for the long term LGBT inclusiveness.

Merch Corner

That grumpy Dalek throws us this week – the very awesome book Who-ology gets a Regeneration Edition and we’re treated to an upcoming Titans 4.5″ Snow TARDIS.

“The Time Warrior” Review

Ah, that cool, swarve and all-round cool Doctor Mr Pertwee gives a potential gem of a story featuring a bunch of firsts for Classic Who at the time. Solid story or does it suffer from retro sluggishness?

Thank you so much as always for listening and sending us your reviews. Next week we kick off November’s “Re-Visits Month” and first up is _Remembrance of the Daleks_ so get that watched. Until then have a great week and remember – Allons-y!

The Behemoth – Big Finish Review

The Sixth Doctor, Constance and Flip are visiting Bath in 1956, hoping to visit the famous baths and try to take a trip around what was essentially a giant playground for the rich and nobility. Certainly the last thing they expected was to get caught up in the slave-trade triangle, a heavy topic that Doctor Who has normally never touched.

Briefly mentioned in The Highlanders and Remembrance of the Daleks, the slave-trade Triangle is a dark and disturbing part of British History. With ships docking in Bristol, slaves were put onto new ships bound for America, while some stayed in Britain. It is a horrible fact that the British public at the time sat back and enjoyed the tobacco and sugar that was harvested under terrible conditions. In The Behemoth, it is just as disturbing that the Doctor can’t do anything about it. All too often we have seen him take down evils that would bring apocalypses to a dozen worlds, but a situation where people are traded away for pots and pans isn’t something that can be stopped at the flip of a switch. This is the harsh reality of history that the TARDIS crew suddenly realise they have to deal with and it is this that gives us a story with a dark tone that we haven’t heard since 2016s, The Peterloo Massacre.

For the TARDIS crew, The Behemoth takes place after Quicksilver, a story where Constance found out the fate or her straying husband and Flip is whisked away moments after her own wedding. Coming from Bletchley Park in 1944, Constance is someone who believes in the stiff-upper lip, someone who doesn’t take any nonsense and can handle herself. Following her first proper story in Criss-Cross, Constance quickly became one of my favourite Big Finish companions and her appearance here proves she is just as brilliant.

On the other hand, Flip was always a different beast for me. This is not a reflection on Lisa Greenwood’s performance but Flip had always come across a little generic for me, not the type of character I had come to expect from someone like Big Finish. Thankfully, she is brilliant here and a lot of that comes from the dynamic between her and Constance. Constance coming from a period in history and Flip being a modern girl should mean that the pair don’t mix well. Thankfully Constance has enough humour and fun written into her character, even if she does her best to hide it, means the pair get on like a house on fire. Given that chronologically, the pair have not long met, they come across as old friends here. Maybe there could be more stories apart from the trilogy made up of The Behemoth, The Middle and Static, that we could be getting?

Big Finish - The Behemoth
Big Finish – The Behemoth

Colin Baker has quickly become the star of Big Finish. Arguably, this Doctor is the one incarnation who has received the most welcome of character developments from the talented writers and it is interesting to the learn that The Behemoth was written at the request of Baker as he wanted a hard turn from science fiction and some old-school historical fun.

The Sixth Doctor plays a role something akin to the First Doctor in this play, he is there but slightly on the side-lines, only getting involved when he absolutely has too. In fact, he seems more interested in getting involved with Mrs. Middlemint than he does any of the other action. The relationship between the pair is something that verges on romantic, so much so that there is a moment where Constance and Flip believe they are about walk in on the pair in a compromising position!

Humour is something that author, Marc Platt brings brilliantly to the table with this story. With the use of a rhino, called Lady Clara, there are moments that seem to have been plucked right out of Del Boy Trotters’ brain. At one point I was expecting someone to shout, “There’s a rhino loose in the city!”. Perhaps that would have been a move that was a little too on the nose but Platt uses comedy for the entirety of the first episode before pulling the rug out from the under the listener from the second episode onwards. Constance befriends Reverend Phillip Naylor, a committed abolitionist and he opens our eyes to the fact that this so-called, polite society, was built on the backs of slaves.

Surely there has never been a story that has flipped so quickly and it seems so natural. Perhaps that is because in society in those times, slavery was just as natural as throwing parties and going to balls in all your finery. And the secondary characters’ acceptance of things that makes it even more disturbing.

The Behemoth also sports a brilliant cast, all of whom are firing on all cylinders. The main cast particularly shines in this dark material. Colin Baker is brilliant as a more romantic begins to shine through his incarnation of the Doctor and Miranda Raisin as Constance Clarke really gets across her utter shock at the idea of slavery. Her speech about fighting fascism is outstanding and Lisa Greenwood takes joy in the sub-plot with Flip trying to avoid the attention of the persistent attention of the upper-class twit, Titus Craven. The material given to Flip and Titus reminded me of Barbara and Nero in The Romans. All the cast play their parts with nothing but utter and complete conviction. The main cast never forget that they are observers to history, they can never interfere. Well, not too much.

Overall, The Behemoth is a slower paced historical adventure, that does feel a little odd at first, much like Black Orchid did. Perhaps this is because on television, the Sixth Doctor had rip-roaring science fiction adventures. This slower pace takes a little getting used to. Marc Platt handles the subject of the slave trade by skirting around it, like an observer looking in. On reflection, this was probably the best way to handle the subject matter, considering how sensitive the subject matter is. But, The Behemoth is a story about love and that lessons for the present should still be learnt from looking back into our own dark past…

Hey Who fans. Cool bit of news, equally cool merch chat then onto our review of The Power of Three.

The News

Another signed script is going up for auction, this time this year’s upcoming Christmas Special – Twice Upon a Time. It’s signed by Peter Capaldi, David Bradley, Mart Gatiss (who’s donating the script) plus some others involved. You’ve got a while before it closes in mid-November however it won’t be cheap, the current bid is just over £2,000 but it’s for charity so the more the better.

Merch Corner

That grumpy Dalek throws us this week – all the deets on the upcoming Series 10 boxsets and another Who calendar for this year – Retro Visions.

“The Power of Three” Review

We haven’t seen Mr Smith, along with Amy and Rory, in a while so we’re looking forward to chewing the fat about this story written by our future show runner Mr Chibbers. Enjoyment x3 or fail?

Thank you so much as always for listening and sending us your reviews. Next week it’s The 3rd Doctor’s turn with The Time Warrior so get those dvd’s out. Until then have a great week and remember – Allons-y!

Hey Who fans. Hope you’re all splendid as always? News, merch and our review of Terminus.

The News

Hate kicking off with sad news but we say goodbye to Trevor Martin who has passed away at the age of 87. Trevor played one of the Time Lords in Troughton’s last story The War Games and then more famously went on to play The Doctor in the stage play Doctor Who and the Daleks in the Seven Keys to Doomsday. We also discuss a story regarding Series 11 episode count and run time.

Merch Corner

That grumpy Dalek throws us this week – the upcoming 1st Doctor Funko Pop! is now up for pre-order, a new NYCC glow in the dark TARDIS from Titan and the unfinished 4th Doctor story Shada is getting the remaster/animation treatment.

“Terminus” Review

Classic week is bringing us the 5th Doctor story Terminus. It’s good to be spending time with Mr Davison as it’s been a while but does this one provide more good Black Guardian action or does it drag on, and on, and on, and on?

Thank you for lending us your ears for another week and for sending in your reviews. Next week it’s the 11th Doctor’s turn for our review of The Power of Three so get those dvds/blu rays out! Until then have a great week and remember – Allons-y!

Hey Who fans. After a crackin’ week of tracking down the latest Doctor Who Magazine and keeping Dalek Tat in check, we’re light on news but a few merch items then onto our goodbye review for Mr Eccleston – The Parting of the Ways.

The News

Fans of the mobile turn based game Legacy from Tiny Rebel Games Ltd will be pleased to know they have announced a new game called Doctor Who Infinity which will be available early next year.

Merch Corner

That grumpy Dalek throws us this week – two new 10th Doctor Short Trips from Big Finish, The Daemons of Devil’s End get’s a paperback signing event and BBC Worldwide announce the Series 10 blu ray boxset will be available on 13th November (so no Xmas Special included) for RRP £35.99.

“The Parting of the Ways” Review

It had to come at some point but we didn’t want it to. We’ve reached the end of our reviews for the 9th Doctor. Sad faces all round. Do we end on a high and praise the hard work of Chris, Billie, Russell and Julie (plus many more) or is it one of those finales?

Thank you as always for listening and sending in your reviews. It’s back to Classic Who next week for the 5th Doctor’s story Terminus and we’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Until then have a fantastic week and remember – Allons-y!