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Season Eight

TV review by Brent White

Terror of the Autons

Clearly from the start of this story this season was going to have stories which would break new ground and be different to any previous season.

Roger Delgado's performance as the Master is excellent and sets: the scene for the character in the rest of the season. Jon Pertwee's performance was good, as it usually is. This story was also important as it introduces Jo Grant and Captain Yates which it did very well; by the end of the story you feel like they are part of the team.

The plot is similar to Spearhead from Space but is still original enough to be a good follow-up, the Master really helps to make it seem new. The look and feel also helps to make it quite different. It has a certain look, which has been described as 'comic strip', which is quite different from any other story in Season Eight. I prefer the Auton design in Spearhead from Space to this story but they are still quite good.

Generally the effects are good, with the large amount of CSO effects almost always looking good. The only time this didn't look convincing was in the plastics factory and at the museum. The plastic which was sprayed onto Jo's face by the daffodil looked good and the impression of really suffocating her. The troll doll looked (generally) good, but it's hard to believe that something so small could strangle a fully grown human, all well.

The Mind of Evil

In my mind this is at least a semi-classic. I found it highly enjoyable from start to finish. The characters are very good indeed; I thought Neil McCarthy and William Marlowe's performances, as George Barnham and Henry Mailer respectively, were excellent. The characters were believable and I could easily imagine them playing them somewhere other than Doctor Who. Roger Delgado's performance is again excellent, of course. Other characters were also very enjoyable. Don Houghton's script is as good or better than his previous season's script, Inferno.

I also enjoyed the realistic location filming and the sets, which overall helped to make the story more realistic. Dover Castle was the perfect setting for the story. The Keller Machine is quite good although it could have looked more impressive; unfortunately budget limitations didn't allow that, it's still good though.

All in all this is an enjoyable story and is one of my favourites of the Pertwee era so far.

The Claws of Axos

Generally, I think my views about this story will be very similar to everyone else's but I'll state them anyway.

After The Mind of Evil I was hoping that The Claws of Axos would be close to that story in quality as I had earlier read the book and enjoyed it. Unfortunately I was disappointed. It's not that I think the story was a complete failure. I actually think the ideas behind it were very good. It's just that it fails somewhat in the effects department and some of the acting is on the messy side of the scale as far as quality goes.

In particular Mr Chinn and Bill Filer are often noted as being badly portrayed, although I think the former is by far the worst. The actor playing Chinn seems to be a complete amateur.

Thankfully I'm the sort of person who remembers the good points of a story more than the bad so as long as I don't watch it too often I won't hate it too much.

Colony in Space

For the most part I enjoyed this story more than The Claws of Axos although I didn't like it entirely. On the bad side there was the dull look of the episodes, some points become boring and appear to be padded, and also some of the characters appear to be very shallow. I also think the story would have been better without the robot thingy.

On the good side there is the story line as a whole, unfortunately though the earlier mentioned padding is a shame.

All in all an average story which easily could have been better.

The Daemons

After the amount of positive comments about The Daemons I was looking forward to seeing whether this story would live up to all of those comments.

From the start of episode one I was very impressed with this story, One aspect of this story which works so well is the location filming at Aldbourne (note that the squire is called Squire Aldbourne), Wiltshire for all of the outdoor scenes. I also think that the scenes of the Master, etc under the church with the brilliant echoes and atmospheric feeling are excellent.

The story is not at all padded and seems to flow very well. Characters are well handled with Benton and Yates seen in a more relaxed light than usual, everyone gets into the action, with Miss Hawthorne also being a very good character. I definitely think that this is the best Master story of the season, with his character seeming very devilish and dark in mood.

All in all The Daemons is an excellent season end story leaving it on a high note. This is my favourite story of the season.

One disappointing aspect of seeing the season was that the worst two stories were the only two in colour (thankfully, they are no longer the only two stories existing in colour). Overall, a very enjoyable season.

This item appeared in TSV 34 (July 1993).