Tag Archives: Tom Baker


Doctor Who Review – The Invasion Of Time

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The Invasion of Time wants to be an epic story. And it sets out all the elements to be just that. Unfortunately that ambition is repeatedly undercut by budget and other factors.

I’ve been fairly critical of the 6 part story format for classic Doctor Who, because more often than not it results in a lot of padding. In this case however, there’s no shortage of plot to fill all six episodes. Unfortunately it seems they had money for no more than 4.

As a result we get wildly variable production values. The scenes that feature Gallifrey take their cues from The Deadly Assassin and therefore look great. On the other hand, the scenes of the Doctor being chased around the TARDIS interior look like they were shot in an empty hospital. And they look that way for a very good reason…

In similar fashion the acting quality is all over the map. On the one hand we have John Arnatt and Milton John as Borusa and Kelnar who are excellent and wonderful foil’s for Tom Baker’s Doctor. On the other hand… well just about everyone else.

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And Baker himself embodies this variance. Sometimes he is giving a subtle and powerful performance, and then he completely undercuts it my hamming up directly to the camera. This is the story with the infamous “not even my sonic screwdriver can get me out of this” line. In many ways this is the point where Baker’s Doctor starts to become a caricature of himself.

Somewhat unusually the story actually features two sets of villainous aliens. The first ones, the Vardans are interesting in concept, but once again the budget lets us down and they are visually… people covered in aluminum foil. The second are the Sontarans. And here you can see the beginning of their descent into comedic characters. They are at least still dangerous here, but they’re also incredibly stupid and incompetent. I know I bang on about this, but they are a wasted opportunity.

I guess the other thing I need to mention is Leela’s departure. It is bizarrely tacked onto the end of this story and nothing we’ve seen feels like we’ve actually lead up to it. It doesn’t even seem like behavior that’s remotely in character for Leela.

All in all The Invasion of Time is a frustrating story to watch. There is so much potential here and some moments of pure magic. And then it promptly stuffs it up.

Sources: Hulu+ or  Amazon.com: The Invasion Of Time



Doctor Who Re-Review: Season 7 Episode 2 – Dinosaurs On A Spaceship


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After my first watching of Dinosaurs on a Spaceship my review could be summed up as fun but shallow and crazily fast paced. I don’t think my opinion has actually changed very much with a second viewing. But perhaps I can go into a bit more detail.

Dinosaurs On A Spaceship is probably the best example of the mini-movies feel that Doctor Who seemed to be aiming for during season 7. I mean it’s an action packed blockbuster with… well… dinosaurs… on a spaceship. Oh, and robots! And missiles! And Egyptian Queens!

It’s absolutely stuffed to the gills with high concept ideas. None of which really get explored. They’re just thrown on screen for the wow factor. And then the whole thing is wrapped up in a layer of broad comedy. It’s funny, it’s exciting to watch, but there really aren’t any hidden depths to this one.

We don’t really get much in the way of motivations for the secondary characters. Or indeed backgrounds for some of them. And that certainly limits it’s re-watchability.

What saves it really is the performances from the actors.Mat Smith’s 11th Doctor is in an almost Tom Baker like mode here. And of course the Ponds act like we ant them to. The interaction between those three has always been a strong point as far as I’m concerned. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship 600x600 Doctor Who Re Review: Season 7 Episode 2   Dinosaurs On A Spaceship

They’re given some solid backup here too from Rupert Graves (Sherlock), Riann Steele, Mark Williams (Harry Potter, The Fast Show) and David Bradley (Harry Potter, Broadchurch, An Adventure In Space And Time) all of whom take pretty shallow archetypes and do everything they can to give them life. It’s quite a cast actually. Even the robots are voiced by comedy duo Mitchell and Webb.

Writer Chris Chibnall’s contributions to Doctor Who have been mixed in quality but the lack of characterisation here is perhaps particularly noticeable to me given his writing of Broadchurch which showed a far greater subtlety.

I should probably say something about the special effects. The dinosaurs themselves are impressive. We’ve come a long way since the old series Doctor Who. We’ve even come a fair way since Primeval first aired on ITV.

So Dinosaurs on a Spaceship is never going to be ha.iled as a Doctor Who classic but it’s a perfectly acceptable episode


Doctor Who Reviews: The Sontaran Experiment

Doctor Who Reviews: The Sontaran Experiment

I have previously complained that 6 parters generally don’t work in Doctor Who. The Sontaran Experiment is on the other end of the spectrum. It’s a two parter in Tom Baker’s first season as the Doctor.

And while modern Who has shown that it’s more than able to cram a lot of plot and action into a 45-50 minute show, Classic Who has a much more sedate pace.  So when it comes to plot, this one is pretty minimal.

Basically a Sontaran is conducting experiments on a group of humans. And the Doctor stops him. The end. Well… in between he and his companions make a habit of falling down things.

There’s really nothing in the way of sub-plots or character development for anyone here.  None of the human crew really stand out at all much.

Even the Sontarans don’t get explored. In fact they’re basically just presented as aliens we should already know about (because they’ve appeared once before.)

On a more positive note, the fact this was shot entirely on location is refreshing and the Sontaran makeup is very sophisticated for it’s time including even a moving mouth.

I also like the general portrayal of Sontarans here much more than I do in nuWho. Yes they’re still rather stupid and easily tricked but they do seem legitimately dangerous rather than just a punchline.

All in all though this one is eminently missable and one of the weaker stories in this particular season.

Tags: #DoctorWho #DoctorWhoReviews #TomBaker

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Which Former Doctor Will Appear With David Tennant and Matt Smith In The 50th An…

doctorwho mcgann Which Former Doctor Will Appear With David Tennant and Matt Smith In The 50th An...Which Former Doctor Will Appear With David Tennant and Matt Smith In The 50th Anniversary?

The rumors have been going around for a while and even the Radio Times is reporting them now

Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary show will feature one of the five former doctors who wielded the Sonic Screwdriver before the Eccleston reboot, RadioTimes.com understands.

According to sources, one of either Colin Baker, Paul McGann, Tom Baker, Sylvester McCoy or Peter Davison will be in the feature length special episode alongside Tennant’s Doctor and the current incumbent Matt Smith.”

So which one is it? Well… I think you can tell which name my money is on.