Jon Pertwee’s Doctor was the first to be shown in colour, which both enhances the show with its more immersive qualities yet diminishes the feel of the more sinister black and white episodes, depending on your point of view of course.
It took me a while to pick between the Carnival of Monsters and The Green Death (the one with the maggots) but whilst TGD incorporates UNIT and has wider issues that resonates with people today – pollution, big business, recession etc – CoM becomes my pick because of the sheer fun and the inventiveness of the realised ideas.
Two travelling show people, Vorg and Shirna have arrived on the bureaucracy laden planet Inter Minor with an illegal Miniscope peepshow. In a variation on the miniaturisation plot of Fantastic Voyage, and harking back to Doctor Who‘s own “Planet of the Giants” story from 1964, the Doctor and Jo have materialised within the Miniscope’s compression field and are trapped inside. For company they have the ferocious alien Drashigs while outside the machine a potentially devastating conspiracy is afoot.
So a new type of Doctor brings a new feel to the show, a Doctor with a more physical presence and more stunts. Which once again leads into a fun story but as ever with this show, there is a message and in this one there are strong overtones to do with political machinations of high government.
Special effects, bright costumes, dimensions within dimensions, it’s great stuff! Filmed both in and out of the studio gives this one a very varied feel and style that the slow bringing together of the story themes allows the plot to take its time, entwining the various threads.
Paranoid aliens, shiny sets and costumes, cunning schemes, the sonic screwdriver, assorted cliff hangers, the right amount of campness, offset with social issues and that usual fascinating yet skewed sense of perspective, which admittedly is more prevalent in this story.
It’s another example of the sheer weight of possibilities and impossibilities that the show is capable of. Apart from a Dreamscape it is debatable whether there is any arena which has the scope capable for such a dynamic vision.