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The Rescue

Reviewed by Jamas Enright


'Why, you must be over 550 years old!'

It has been said many times over that memory plays tricks. Having watched this story a while ago, all I could remember was padding and a lack of plot line, but, when I watched it recently for this review, I was specifically watching for lack of plot, and the outrageous padding I thought was present, didn't notice any, and ended up enjoying it.

The Rescue is a two-part story, written by David Whitaker, set on the planet Dido, where a spaceship, headed for the planet Astra to start a new colony, accidentally crashed. The TARDIS lands there, and Ian and Barbara explore, leaving the Doctor to talk himself out of spending too much time worrying over the recently departed Susan. Koquillion, whom we learn in this episode is a Didoian, nearly buries Ian in a rockslide, and sends Barbara hurtling down from the mountain. Barbara is rescued by Vicki, one of the two survivors of the spaceship crash, the other being Bennett. From then on it's deceit and danger all the way.

The first comment I want to make is: the rockslide is the worst special effect I have ever seen. 'Nineties mentality!' some scream. 'Consider the budget!' Hah! The rest of the effects are perfectly believable, even to a nineties mentality pretending to understand the sixties, but this is just too stupid. A clump of boulders fall down and Ian, who isn't near them, collapses. The Doctor even has to stop one of the rocks from moving when Ian tries to clear them out later (and he does so with one hand. Ah, such strength!)

Aside from that, this story is fast paced, and keeps its surprises. From what information we're given, we're wondering, with the Doctor, 'Why have the Didoians turned hostile?', 'Why is Bennett being so harsh?' and 'What does Koquillion really want?' A lot of us have already read the novelisation, so it doesn't come as that much of a shock, but if you take away that knowledge first, this is an engaging story.

Acting wise, I love Ray Barrett's character. Underhanded, lying, control freak, murderer; just the sort of chap who livens things up. Maureen O'Brien, on the other hand ... for a first impression, she lacks something, coming across as rather flat and naive. She gets some development with her interaction with Barbara after Barbara kills the sand monster, but that doesn't last long.

As a story, The Rescue is a lot better than most people would credit, and certainly deserves a look.

This item appeared in TSV 49 (November 1996).

Index nodes: The Rescue