Saturday, 6 June 2009

Doctor Who: The Edge of Destruction. Or Inside the Spaceship. Or Beyond the Sun.

The Edge of Destruction

"Don't you realise, you stupid old man, that you'd have died in the Cave of Skulls if Ian hadn't made fire for you?"

Once again, it's very apparent that one of the TARDIS walls is made of cardboard- the roundels look very odd. One of the other walls seems to be a series of 60s computers behind a glass wall... very odd.

These amnesia scenes are quite tiresome, and Susan's just so wet! Interesting line from Ian whilst examining the Doctor, though: "His heart seems all right". That's "heart", singular...

The TARDIS food machine again- did someone say David Whitaker wrote this one?

Seems it's supposed to be completely white outside the TARDIS, but you can clearly see the join between the wall and the floor. My God, Susan's really annoying in this scene! The thing is, though, it's not Carole Ann Ford's fault- how else could she have played the character as written? She actually puts in a quite sinister performance here as Possessed-But-Is-She Susan. The scenes with the scissors work really well, until she starts screaming hysterically. My, David Whitaker's really writing the female characters well.

Ooh! Liked the mention of "the planet Quinnis, in the fourth universe".

Barbara's speech to the Doctor after he accuses her and Ian of sabotage is fantastic. She is now officially great. Pity the script requires her to start crying hysterically immediately afterwards...

There's an original cliffhanger... the Doctor gurning...

The Brink of Disaster

"It means that the Ship is on the brink of destruction".

All this business of the Doctor suspecting Ian and Barbara is really quite tiresome, even if we do get some top lapel-clutching action from Hartnell.

So, the Doctor doesn't want the two women to know they have only five minutes to live, as it might worry their pretty little heads. Although it was fine for them to hear they had only ten minutes to live a few moments earlier. My God, Susan really is so wet in this story!

The Doctor's speech is great- I love the way it's framed as well, with Hartnell alone in front of the console with darkness behind. Mind you, it mus;postID=5202402346681803092;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=780;src=linkt be said he goes a bit Soldeed at the end...

I actually find the ending quite satisfying- it undercuts things nicely that the guilty party is a faulty spring in the Fast Return Switch. We know it's the Fast Return Switch because it has "Fast Return Switch" written on it in felt pen.

Hmmm, so Barbara pits her "instinct" and "intuition" against the Doctor's "logic"... was David Whitaker a pioneer of the early 60s feminist movement, by any chance?

Ooh, Gilbert and Sullivan- the Doctor's first ever celebrity namedrop! I might keep note of these. Great line by Ian: "I thought it was made for two". Come to think of it, after being taken over in the last story by "action hero" Ian, "raised eyebrow" Ian is now back.

So, overall? The plot was a mess, the clues didn't make sense, Susan's odd behaviour was never explained, and the Doctor's character seems to have regressed. This comes across as just two episodes of filler- made, as Terrance Dicks is wont to say, to stop the test card going out. Still, David Whitaker, rushed though he apparently is, is too much of a good writer for this to be a total disaster. The characters ring true, and in the case of Ian and Barbara have noticeably acquired more depth than Terry Nation was able to give them. 2/5 then.

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