Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Four hearts beat as one...

Doctor Who: The Two Doctors. 1985. UK.
Directed by Peter Moffatt. BBC DVD. Region 2.

Patrick Troughton’s last appearance in a Doctor Who story teams him and his assistant Jamie (the always brilliant Frazer Hines) with the sixth Doctor as played by Colin Baker and his assistant Peri (Nicola Bryant).

Although there’s a lot of things in these three 45 minute episodes that should have ensured a very successful story, I’m afraid to say that this is actually quite a weak set of episodes. The wonderful Jacqueline Pearce as one of the lead villains is, unfortunately, not given as much glam and autonomy as a character to best show off the dominatrix-style treachery that made her run as Servalan in Blake’s Seven so memorable. And the make up on the Sontarans in this story is unbelievably bad compared to what came both before and after it... like they’d gone to a toy store and bought the masks for a fiver.

Troughton and Hines are always a pleasure to watch but Troughton is just not given nearly enough screen time in this adventure and is almost relegated to the role of “damsel in distress”. Worse still, there is absolutely no explanations given for the lack of temporal continuity which this episode throws up. If this episode is set between the Troughton episodes Fury From The Deep and The Wheel In Space (as this episode starts the second Doctor has just said goodbye to his companion Victoria) then he was certainly not on good terms with his fellow Time Lords (who Jamie wouldn’t even know about yet). They were still trying to catch him at that point... not send him on missions. And Jamie wouldn’t know what a regeneration is (all this is quickly and ineffectively glossed over). Similarly, there is no explanation given as to how Peri knows who Jamie is. Nor how the second Doctor would recognise a Sontaran for that matter (if you want to get really picky).

There are a few nice one liners in this one... but they don’t compensate nearly enough for this mess of a story.

The wealth of extras included on this release are generous in terms of quantity but not so great in terms of quality. In addition to the nice tribute documentary on Robert Holmes, the only other slight curio of any interest... if you really want to watch it... is an episode of Jim’ll Fix It with the Sixth Doctor, Tegan (as played by Janet Fielding... although her character had never met that incarnation) and the same, badly realised Sontarans.

All in all, not a great deal to recommend this release... other than the fact that it was the incomparable Patrick Troughton’s final farewell to the character.

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