I have a half written Tomb of the Cybermen review that I was going to put up but then I remembered this utterly fantastic story and decided to do that instead for my second Doctor post. As it reinforces my literary love, proof that you don’t need great effects just a wonderful story and imagination…as long as are willing to suspend your disbelief, Shakespeare style that is.
What better to entice us in than a story all about words and the creative imaginations of some of the finest writers and dreamers around. Often at the BBC innovative crew were needed due to the budgetary requirements placed upon the show, but this serves to demonstrate the inventiveness that the programme has become known for.
After an accident with the TARDIS, the Doctor, Zoe and Jamie are transported into a dimension where fiction rules. Here they encounter a range of fictional characters and some ominous White Robots.
The product description on the back of the DVD is admittedly not very rock ‘n’ roll but that belies the sheer fun of the story. Especially considering all the problems it encountered, like the numerous rewrites, having to add an extra episode into the mix at short notice and one of the regular cast of characters going down with chicken pox during the filming of episode two and the quite ingenious way they remedy that.
Everything about this episode is great, from the varied sets, to the acting chemistry and of course Wendy Padbury – who plays Zoe – having, for me, the classic companion dramatic scream. Patrick Troughton is the doctor for this one and what a difference he is from the first, a playful, scruffy individual who nevertheless makes the role his own and so begins the versatility of the Doctor character.
I am loath to talk to much about the story itself, for this is one of those stories that really should be experienced with the minimum of information before hand, with its fast paced nature, clever wordplay and visuals, and a wonderfully fresh romp through myth and literature it is perhaps unsurprising why it is one of my favouritest ever Doctor Who serials.
Whilst resisting the chance to wax lyrical about everything (and you’ll know what I mean once you watch it), a stand out for me is the lack of what would probably be known as the conventional villain, it’s a clever way of changing up the usual formula and is perfectly in keeping with the feel of fun and imaginative atmosphere which crosses boundaries with so many iconic and fascinating characters that we all know and love.