One awful serial is to be expected now and again; call it a slip in judgement. Two in row is an anomalous accident, perhaps. But three absolutely awful serials in a row? This can only be by design. For one reason or another, the powers that be have turned Doctor Who into a very strange, very silly, programme, which this time seems intent on mimicking an episode of Hi-de-Hi. That is, if Hi-de-Hi was set in Wales and had alien bounty hunters in it. I’ve probably made that sound far more interesting than it actually is.
I’m not adverse to comedy in sci-fi – in fact, some of my favourite Star Trek episodes are ones that don’t take themselves too seriously. Unfortunately, this era of Doctor Who just isn’t funny. I think laughed once, and that was when one of the (awful) American characters says “we’re in Wales… in England”.
There are hints of seriousness, of war and genocide in a far away galaxy, as if somebody is trying to inject a bit of serious drama into the show, but it’s all at odds with the overall ‘campy’ tone. Even when the bus-load of alien tourists is blown up, it’s almost played for laughs and then forgotten about. The characters are paper-thin caricatures (although I must say, “Ray” gets by on good looks and a sexy accent – she should have been the new companion, darn it!). The Doctor has a fairly good confrontation with Gavrock in which he pushes his luck in a rather endearing way, but that’s about it. I quite like this new Doctor, but it’s so frustrating not letting him sink his teeth into a meaty role. Speaking of meat, Gavrock chewing on a big lump of the stuff is really quite disgusting.
It’s just so bad, it’s painful to watch. The music is absolutely awful. Some of it is rubbish cover versions of fifties songs, and then there’s the use of the “Devil’s Galop” during the chases, which does nothing to help the naffness of the thing. And the bit with the green baby – oh my god, what were they thinking? And Queen Delta can communicate with bees or something? What? THIS IS COMPLETELY STUPID!
I have almost nothing good to say about this one at all. I think we’ve just struck solid Low, buried fifty feet underneath Lowtown, in Lowestoft. Let’s keep it down there and forget this whole thing ever happened.