“I can hardly be held responsible for the manifold idiocies of my former
“Hey, are you calling my Doctor an idiot?”
The Pat Trougton Doctor brings Jamie and Zoe to investigate a mysterious monument created by the cybermen, prior to their defeat at the conclusion of the interstellar Cyber War. But when he disappears, a much later incarnation appears to take his place…
“Don’t you tell me what to do!”
“Or…I’ll punch you on the nose!”
“Well…maybe I’ll punch you right back!”
“Let’s see now, shall we?”
As Zoe runs across a rather ragtag group of archaeolgists, soldiers and only half-converted Cybermen, The Doctor and Jamie find themselves in hot pursuit. But The Doctor’s lapses of memory and Jamie’s cantankerous mistrust of the unfamiliar impostor Doctor may sabotage any intended rescue operation…
“Snap out of it, y’great clown!”
Eventually, all parties reunite to investigate the site, but there’s more than one fly to be found in this particular ointment…
“Ms. Zennox only has her eyes on the curatorial prize, an untouched hoard of cybertech, she thinks. But in the wrong hands…”
“Yes…I think it wise to keep a cautious eye on our curatrix…”
This both is and ain’t your daddy’s Second Doctor adventure. Ostensibly, yes, we’re certainly playing in the Troughton era ballpark, with Cybermen, comedy and plenty of silly interplay between the leads. Hell, the story even borrows heavily from Tomb of the Cybermen, both tonally and in terms of the overall drivers of plot.
“I can’t make out the dialect from profanities, anyhow.”
“oh…that’s a terrible word! That I should hope you didn’t realize, yes!”
But on the other hand, this is a far more cheeky, knowing and “adult” take on the material than BBC Standards and Practice would ever have allowed back in 1966. Amusingly, from all anecdotes of those who were there, this may actually be closer to the sort of thing going on behind the scenes on set between a pair of inveterate pranksters* (at least one of whom makes a forte of hilariously blue humor to this day – nudge and a wink to Frazer, eh, wot?).
* Having had the pleasure of making both of their acquaintances last year, I can assure the reader that they really are like this in person…
“Jamie, I’m warning you. I’m not the prancing pixie I used to be.”
“oh, aye? Come on, then – let’s see what you’ve got! I might get some satisfaction in wiping that smirk off your patronizing chops…give us your best shot, y’great soft English bobby!”*
* you read that right. Jamie just referred to The Doctor as a…well…(ahem)… Never mind!
“Any lassies are your own business, I’m afraid.”
Filled with plenty of good natured juvenile banter and more than a few saucy asides, normally uber-serious author Alan Barnes (The Girl Who Never Was, Gods and Monsters, Trial of the Valeyard, White Ghosts) explores a decidedly lighter side of his authorial persona by delivering what may be the most likeably entertaining companion matchup yet.
Driven almost entirely by Baker and Hines’ “duelling brothers” dynamic, this one is truly not to be missed – to hell with the plot, Cybermen and all that ephemera. This is the Colin and Frazer show (or vice versa, as the latter would doubtless be keen to assert!)
Sure, there’s a definite flaw to discuss here. When you boil it down to essentials, this is actually only a three part story – all this nonsense about travelling into the past and getting involved at the end of the Cyber War feels tacked on if not somewhat extraneous to the story proper.
But if you just drop off at the end of part 3 and skip up to the final scene in part 4, it’s cohesive enough, not to mention one of the more entertaining main line stories in recent memory. It even fits right in to continuity, taking place during a particular sequence of The War Games…
All in all, a rather entertaining bit of business that leaves the listener hankering for more of what amounts to The Colin Baker Doctor and Jamie Show – pure entertainment in every scene they cohabit.