Category Archives: Barbara

The Chase

It starts off fine, if a little silly. Time-travelling Daleks, giant octopodes, and Ian dancing around the Tardis to the Beatles – what’s not to love?

The Doctor's new time scanner picks up the Daleks. And the Beatles on Top of the Pops.

The Doctor’s new time scanner picks up the Daleks. And the Beatles on Top of the Pops.

Moving onto parts 3 and 4, we get an episode set on the Empire State Building in New York (complete with bad accents) and then on the Marie Celeste… fine, silly but fun.

Daleks board the Marie Celeste as they chase the Tardis through time and space.

Daleks board the Marie Celeste as they chase the Tardis through time and space.

But then there’s haunted house. Oh dear god WHAT?! This story definitely takes a turn for the weird. It was a theme park attraction? So, they were actors? But they were invulnerable to Dalek laser? What? WHAT?!!

Poor production, too. Cameraman shadows all over the set, audio cutting in too early.

And then robo-Doctor at the end, for some baffling reason played by a different actor even though he’s the only one in shot (and they’re saying he’s indistinguishable from the original). Wow.

A frankly bizarre turn of events in a haunted house. A low point for the series so far.

A frankly bizarre turn of events in a haunted house. A low point for the series so far.

But anyway, aside from the ridiculous haunted house episode, I thought ‘The Chase’ was pretty good, particularly the final part where the Daleks and the robo-spheres have a massive shootout and their whole city explodes. And then Ian and Barbara leave and go back to London. Sad times.

On the final planet of the Tardis’ escape (they land on a planet originally set for human colonisation), one of the robo-spheres’ captives is Steven, whose survey ship was damaged and couldn’t leave, and he’d been held captive by the robotic inhabitants for many years waiting to be rescued. When the robot city is destroyed, Steven escapes, lagging behind the Doctor, and sneaks aboard his Tardis shortly before it departs.

The planet Mechanus, where Steven is held captive. This place goes BOOM!

The planet Mechanus, where Steven is held captive. This place goes BOOM!

As Ian and Barbara depart, I will summarise and comment on their role.
I can’t talk about one without the other; they arrive together, they leave together. Both Susan’s teachers at school, Ian is probably the best character so far; he handles the serious and the silly perfectly. His natural curiosity as a teacher of science lends itself well to the stories, and he manages to tackle the physical roles too. Barbara is similar, and she plays off of Ian and Susan very well, but she doesn’t get many good roles or chances to shine. She is briefly an Aztec goddess, which is about the most she gets to work with. She’s the sympathetic voice, kind and caring, but can handle herself well too.

They end up back in 1960s London, luckily! At the end of The Chase, they convince (eventually) the Doctor to rig up the Daleks’ time machine to send them back home. It’s the only chance they’ve had, since the Tardis could not be so accurately controlled. They arrive back in present day, the time machine self destructs, and they presumably get back to their normal lives… although not before a delightfully silly montage of snapshots of them both touring around the sights of London.

The Space Museum

A serial in four parts, the first of which is quite a cool creepy sci-fi thing with a “timey-wimey” time travel twist. Starts pretty well. Slow, but mysterious.

The Doctor and co see themselves turned into museum attractions, having jumped a time track into the future.

The Doctor and co see themselves turned into museum attractions, having jumped a time track into the future.

After that, it becomes a more standard fare, with our heroes trying to figure out how to escape their fate of becoming museum attractions. They touch upon the futility of escaping a fate they’ve already witnessed, how choice is pointless without knowledge (something the Matrix sequels went on about in a more bloated and wordy fashion) and it all ends rather anti-climactly with the planet’s original inhabitants (with really silly eyebrows) launching a coup and taking over the place with ray guns that make screaming sounds.

The Doctor is captured, interrogated and even tortured for a while.

The Doctor is captured, interrogated and even tortured for a while.

Fashion disasters aside, it was reasonably entertaining, and ends with a teaser clip of the Dalek story coming next…

The Crusade

Parts 2 and 4 reconstructed. The glacial pacing and melodrama make for some hard watching sometimes. This is just yet another “Doctor meets famous person from history” story (Richard the Lionheart this time), nothing especially interesting and a bit formulaic now.

Barbara is captured. Again.

Barbara is captured. Again.

Really, there’s little more to say about this one. It was very, very dull.

I have noticed the Doctor is getting more and more giggly with each passing story. I shall call him the Chuckling Doctor from now on – quite a change from his first appearance when he was a grumpy old man smacking cavemen over the head with rocks.

The Doctor meets Richard the Lionheart.

The Doctor meets Richard the Lionheart.

I am getting slightly irritated by his constantly adding “hmm?” to the end of every single sentence. To be honest, I’m not much of a fan of his acting, but I’ve still got another ‘season’ before his first regeneration happens, so… hanging in there and hoping for some better stories soon.

The Web Planet

The Doctor and co are stuck on a really fake-looking planet of really fake-looking insect people for six episodes and it’s frightfully dull.

The giant ant-like Zarbi roam the surface of the planet. That background is totally not painted on. Nope.

The giant ant-like Zarbi roam the surface of the planet. That background is totally not painted on. Nope.

Not great. I couldn’t take it seriously. The costumes looked like kids’ pyjamas, the set was badly shot and you could just hear the constant creaking of the stage boards and the hollow ant suits hitting things.

"Let's bee friends."

“Let’s bee friends.”

It was ambitious, I’ll grant. A whole planet of giant insects, a war between the new ant-like occupants and the original bee-like inhabitants (who can fly). But goodness me, did it drag on.

The Optera, underground insect people, evolved differently from the bee people due to living underground.

The Optera, underground insect people, evolved differently from the bee people due to living underground.

No interesting characters outside of the main cast, since they’re either mute or speak in drawn out alienese, which is just dull to watch. I did like the glow effect whenever they were on the surface, and the distinctive electronic noises the Zarbi made.

The Romans

This is four episodes set in ancient Rome, unsurprisingly. As per the norm, a light-hearted holiday turns into a fight for their lives, as Barbara and Ian get captured and made into slaves. By astonishing luck, the Doctor and new girl Vicki just happen to be heading to Rome (well, all roads lead there – it’s the name of part 2) and both groups manage to get themselves out of trouble again without actually running into each other.

Any excuse for fancy dress.

Any excuse for fancy dress.

Seriously, Barbara becomes a servant to the Caesar where the Doctor is pretending to be his new musician, Ian rescues her without the Doctor or Vicki seeing either of them, and they all escape separately! The Doctor even gets into some fisticuffs this time, although his half of the adventure is rather more light-hearted on the whole. I lost count of the number of times he laughed hysterically in this story. Every other line seemed filled with giggles.

"Do you know Freebird?"

“Do you know Freebird?”

Oh, then he gives Nero the idea to burn down Rome.

Overall, a weirdly mixed tone, more jovial than normal, but a fun romp.

The Rescue

The Hartnell era continues with ‘The Rescue’, a two-parter about a crashed Earth spaceship on an alien planet, but all is not as it seems!

The crashed Earth ship on planet Dido.

The crashed Earth ship on planet Dido.

I rather enjoyed this one, I must say. Keeping it to two parts meant it was tight and to the point, didn’t overreach itself or drag on, and had a good twist at the end, when a terrorising alien threat is not what it appears to be.

The alien Koquillion regularly threatens the two surviving crew members.

The alien Koquillion regularly threatens the two surviving crew members.

They also pick up a new sidekick, Vicki, who is basically Susan’s replacement, but not annoying.

Vicki calls for help from nearby rescue ships.

Vicki calls for help from nearby rescue ships.

Vicki was an orphan prior to joining the crew of the ship that crashed, and she leaves on adventures with the Doctor because she has nothing to stay behind for.

The Dalek Invasion of Earth

The Daleks’ second ever appearance. At this point, they are unbelievably rubbish villains. They’re stupid, slow, and apparently easily subdued by jumping on them and pulling them over. At least they have overcome their inability to move over non-metallic floors, but their only weapon is still a death ray that they rarely use, and apparently are ineffective against vehicles (Barbara runs over three of the them in a massive truck, which was pretty cool, to be fair).

The Tardis lands on Earth... but not the one we know.

The Tardis lands on Earth… but not the one we know.

They’ve got a load of robo-men (brainwashed humans with metal helmets on their heads) serving as underlings, who are also rubbish, slow, stupid and easily susceptible to being hit over the head from behind.

And apparently they took over the Earth! Something about hitting us with a virus first. They do also have pretty powerful flying saucers.

London in the twenty-second century looks remarkably like London in the 1960s. Just sayin'.

London in the twenty-second century looks remarkably like London in the 1960s. Just sayin’.

Once again, the Doctor and companions are unable to get back to the Tardis because some rubble fell in front of the door.

I’m being pretty down on it but it’s actually more interesting than a lot of the stories so far. They’ve also been using more outdoor filming, which is a rare occurrence, although it does make Future London look like 1960s London.

I don’t know when Daleks first started being scary villains, but I don’t think this was it. They’re more comical than anything.

The Daleks' robo-men slaves plant a bomb or something.

The Daleks’ robo-men slaves plant a bomb or something.

The resolution of this story is super-rushed, and makes no sense! A throwaway line about the explosion at the end taking out all the Dalek ships? Really? All of them, the whole world over, caught up in the same volcanic explosion over England? How the hell did that happen?

That said, there is an unexpected departure at the end when Susan stays behind and the Doctor gives a rather touching speech to her from the Tardis before leaving her. He delivers it well – doesn’t even fluff a line!

Overall, quite an ambitious six episodes and one of the more enjoyable so far, albeit lacking in places. Also bonus points for leaving Susan behind – she’s a tedious character. More Chesterton please!

Susan stays behind as the Tardis leaves.

Susan stays behind as the Tardis leaves.

As Susan departs in this story, I will summarise and comment on her role. I didn’t care much for the character. Her role in most stories was to scream at things and talk really fast. Dated melodrama. However, her passion for adventure did go well with the other companions’ more cautious personalities, and her excitement for exploring often rubbed the Doctor the wrong way, or got them all into trouble.
She ends up in twenty-second century London, shortly after the Dalek Invasion has been quashed. Having fallen in love with one of the resistance fighters, David, she admits she finally wants to settle down after all her travels. The Doctor understands and purposely leaves without her, for her own good. She is left behind, but in a place she wants to be, hoping to rebuild the Earth and start a family.