Sunday, 18 October 2009

Doctor Who: The King's Demons

Part One

“He’s said to be the best swordsman in France.”

“Fortunately, we are in England.”

Crikey, forced to watch a story on video again. Doesn’t seem to happen very often these days.
Terence Dudley again… oh dear. It’s the middle ages, and we begin by having a series of mediaeval tropes paraded before us- the travelling tyrant king; the feast; the challenging to a duel by the dropping of a gauntlet; the joust. Then the TARDIS lands.

Two quite astonishing things happen regarding our heroes early on in the story. Firstly Tegan has actually changed her clothes, and secondly, our heroes unaccountably fail to recognise that Sir Gilles Estram is being played by Anthony Ainley and thus is obviously the Master.

Gerald Flood is excellent as the king, especially as the part he’s playing is somewhat more complicated than it at first appears. The sets and locations are also fab. Of course, the best thing about it is the king’s song. Still, the whole thing feels a bit dull and pointless.

The cliffhanger made me laugh out loud. This is the second time in a row that the return of the Master has been heralded by “So you escaped from…”

Part Two

“Mediaeval misfits!”

There’s something a bit embarrassing about the “Arise, Sir Doctor” scene. Still I’m sure it’s just a one off and it’ll never happen again.

The Master’s plan is just to meddle in history. As the Doctor says, it’s “small time villainy by his standards” and more reminiscent of the Meddling Monk, although of course Terence Dudley’s scriptwriting pales in comparison to that of the great Dennis Spooner. Oh, and he has Tegan flying the TARDIS again.

The Doctor and Master get a rather stagy confrontation scene which makes no sense whatsoever in terms of the Master’s motivation and which consists pretty much entirely of toe-curdlingly embarrassing dialogue. Still, at least we’re introduced to Kamelion, who at least looks rather good.

After a rather contrived ending, Kamelion joins the TARDIS crew for some reason. No doubt we’ll be seeing him all the time now. And after a brief interlude of the Doctor being nasty to Tegan (he really doesn’t like her, and I’m actually starting to feel sorry for her), they’re all off to the Eye of Orion.

Oh dear. That was a bit of a mess. I’ll be generous and give it 2/5 for looking good and being well performed. But the script was awful.

As for the season as a whole, it doesn’t get very good marks either at only 3/5, the worst score so far. Aside from the excellent Enlightenment, only Mawdryn Undead really managed to impress me. I’m hoping for better next season. But first, a bit of nostalgia…

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