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Video review by Stuart Brown

I have fleeting memories of watching this story by Ian Briggs four and a half years ago. It introduces Ace and effectively writes out Mel. Her departure was rather rushed and I can't see Mel hanging around with Glitz - he would probably sell her! There is good acting all round especially from Kane (Edward Peel) and Glitz (Tony Selby). Little touches which add to the feel of the story include the steaming of Kane's victims, exotic creatures and their costumes in the bar, and the mark left by Kane's coin - a pity Ace didn't take it as it could have made things a lot more interesting.

The musical score in Dragonfire is an improvement on previous stories, although it is not as complex as The Curse of Fenric and Ghost Light. It does show a transitional phase for music in Doctor Who.

The Biomechanoid's eye lasers and explosions were effective. The ANT guns looked cheap and fake, they could have done much better. The effect of Kane dying was brilliant, but it seemed rather sped up.

The idea of having the treasure within Kane's grasp bit not allowing him to get it was a good one and partly explains his evil - his goal was so close yet so far away. The rather literal 'cliffhanger' to episode one was not necessary, why did the Doctor climb over the rail anyway? The comic relief with the intellectual guard was funny and suitably relaxed the viewer between action scenes. Why did Briggs bother with the lost child idea? At the end the child's mother behaved as if nothing had happened which made no sense at all.

Overall an average story but in the context of McCoy's first year it is superb. There is no doubt in my mind that Dragonfire is the best story of Season 24.

This item appeared in TSV 40 (July 1994).

Index nodes: Dragonfire