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The 24th Season

First Impressions: Scott Walker

THE DOCTOR - Sylvester McCoy.
Although JNT had ordered the input of more humour into the show, I felt that Sylvester McCoy overdid it. Humour on his output did not make the 25th season any better than previous. McCoy oozes energy and youthful vigour. His acting is a little over the top, but give him time and I am sure he will improve. He takes after Patrick Troughton's eccentricity and contains large elements of Tom Baker's curiosity and humour. He takes time to get used to, but should grow on you with time.

MELANIE (Mel) - Bonnie Langford.
Having seen season 23, Mel was then a pleasant, if not entertaining companion. Loyal, enthusiastic and vigorous. Her squeaky voice does tend to grate on the nerves after a while, and she is one of the best screamers I've heard for a while! Time and the Rani, Season 24's first story, was Langford's worst effort. Yuck. Also the rest of the season did not do her any good. Pity, as I was just getting used to her.

ACE - Sophie Aldred.
Ace, having just arrived, has the potential to make Doctor/Companion relationships soar to new heights. She has all the elements of loyalty, energy, and pizzazz. I personally like her a lot as a companion. One thing I did find was that some of her lines were poorly acted out, they either had no emphasis on them or too much.

THE STORIES (cont. from last issue):

By Andrew Poulsen


The Doctor and Mel decide on a vacation. On the control room viewers we see an advertisement for 'Paradise Towers' - supposedly a great place to live. Arriving, Mel and the Doctor are confronted by the Red Kangs. There are also Blue Kangs and Yellow Kangs. McCoy displays the Doctor's ability to adjust quickly to different societies, laws and chancy situations. Along with the Kangs the society consists of the caretakers, the rezzies (residents), and a young man called Pex.

Mel and the Doctor become separated. She meets two old ladies, Tilda and Tabby (Brenda Bruce and Elizabeth Spriggs), who have some strange eating habits. These two parts were strange to see on DW, as they were portrayed in a very sinister manner, which I felt didn't fit in with Doctor Who at all. (It reminded me a little of 'The Two Doctors', with it's cannibalism.) It is while here she meets Pex (Howard Cooke), who is trying to prove to others that he is brave by trying to keep Paradise Towers safe. Pex is a fun character who, in many ways redeems this story to an extent.

Recently people have been vanishing including all of the Yellow Kangs, some caretakers and rezzies. We discover that the cleaners are capturing people to feed them to the Great Architect, who is imprisoned in the basement. These cleaners look extremely like the War Machines that were used in the Hartnell story, props have obviously come a long way! They are about as menacing as a street sweeper, and about as poorly designed. What cleaning robot has saw blades and grippers? The Doctor is taken to the Chief Caretaker, which makes for a cute scene until the Doctor, as usual, escapes. The chief caretaker, played by Richard Briers, is your standard pompous oaf, which is always in control. Briers' acting is good in places, such as the 'possession' scene, but on the whole, he doesn't really suit the role. Maybe as a quiet self-sufficient gardener? The Great Architect escapes from the basement by possessing Briers and commands death to all living beings. Through cooperation the occupants manage to trap and destroy him.

Bonnie Langford was useless in this story, and just served as another means of getting into trouble. Her continued fascination with the pool in the sky (the top floor) is irrelevant to the story, and silly. The girls that made up the Kangs were, on the whole, very good. It reminded me of the societies that appear in the book Lord of the Flies. The outcome of Paradise Towers is pretty predictable, but the story has its moments. The special effects aren't terribly impressive, and Tilda and Tabby being pulled through the garbage disposable is quite unbelievable, even though it is a worthy demise.


This was the totally on-location story of the season. Filmed in a holiday camp in Wales, it was full of some nice scenery and a very 1950's atmosphere. Normally gruff good guy Don Henderson (Bulman) plays the lead Bannerman, Gavroc, brilliantly.

We see a battle between the Bannermen and the Chimerons - a race near extinction but for the Princess Delta and unborn child. From here we move to a Space/Time Travel Tour terminal, featuring British comedian, Ken Dodd. He is justly treated, and blown away by the Bannermen. The Doctor and Mel win a trip to Elvis era, 1950's America with Nostalgia Tours. Things go wrong and the Tour Bus (yes, a rocket powered bus!) complete with load of tourists arrives in Wales, 1959.

This is a fast paced story based at a Welsh Holiday camp, including some strange Americans on the lookout for a stray satellite. Also a bee keeper, staff of the camp, holiday makers and the Bannerman spy all appear sooner or later.

With the help of motorbikes with sidecars, the Doctor moves Delta, plus small child, to the beekeeper, Garonwy's. The beekeeper, as played by Hugh Lloyd, a comedy veteran, seemed to be totally insignificant to the plot, although this may have been intended. The camp is evacuated and a game of strategy combined with tricks, cunning and luck takes place. With the help of Delta's daughter they defeat the Bannermen and ensure the safety of Delta and her daughter.

The almost total on-location filming, although nice, in fact seemed to spoil the story. It retained no tension and atmosphere. Several fun scenes are used in Delta, one of these being the American spies using a real Police Box. Very cute. All in all, a very different story. It certainly made a change!


This story was the 150th for Doctor Who. Glitz (Tony Selby) returns and, as usual, turns out a brilliant performance.

The Doctor and Mel land on an ice planet. While visiting a cafe they just happen to bump into Glitz, who shows them a map of hidden treasure. They also meet Ace, a waitress. The Doctor and Glitz leave the girls to go and find the treasure, which Glitz needs to buy back his ship. The girls, upset at being left behind, follow the men, and get into more trouble. They finally all meet up and find the Dragon, a smaller version of an Aliens monster, however this one is nice. The bad guys come after them, but, as always, the goodies escape safety. Finally, Mel leaves the Doctor to travel with Glitz, and Ace goes with Doctor (who she continually calls "Professor") on his travels.

As Scott, Kay and myself all had differing opinions as to which was the best story, we haven't pointed out who liked what. However, this was my favourite. It has been very well directed by Chris Clough, who, I'm very pleased to see, is directing more episodes this year. This story was well put together, reasonably well scripted (it definitely had it's moments), and most enjoyable.

However, I disapprove of the writer stealing so much footage from Aliens. Watching Dragonfire for the first time I was amused at the resemblance of the Dragon to an Alien, but when they have dumped about 2 minutes of script straight out of the movie, I was not impressed. What a cop-out! However, the story worked well, which made up for some of the letdowns in the script. It was well cast, right down to the little girl that serves little purpose at all other than being cute. Personally, I really liked Ace, the new companion, even though some of her lines are rather poorly scripted. McCoy was best yet in this story, here's hoping he continues improving in the new season.

This item appeared in TSV 7 (May 1988).

Index nodes: Season 24, Time and the Rani, Paradise Towers, Delta and the Bannermen, Dragonfire