“Remember Fang Rock?”
The Doctor, Leela and K9 arrive on the imaginatively monikered Planet E9874, where alien Overseers and Architects are enlisting the native primitive culture of the Tarl to construct great beacons to deep space in exchange for introducing them to culture and knowledge.
But what is the purpose? Who are the “Locoyuns” really? And why are Tarl workers dying horribly in their wake?
OK, this is a simple test to divide the Whovians from the Newvians.
I’m presupposing here that you can remember further back than cuddly little 10th David Tennant, or even (gasp!) before Russell T. Davies lent his talents to the revival of the series in this one.
“They would stand in front of great maps, wave their arms in mysterious ways and conjure up misery and delight in equal measure.”
“They were sorcerers.”
“Or big fibbers. Nobody ever really worked it out.”
The Doctor and Leela break up an unusual hunting expedition. Did you know there were Zygons involved?
“No. We did not know that.”
“But it all sounds very impressive. Bravo.” (breaks into brief round of solo applause)
“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe, she had so many children she didn’t know what to do. She gave them some broth without any bread and whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.
…Not very wise. She should have sent the children out to hunt wild animals and only whipped them if they returned without any!”
Louise Jameson graduates from acting to try her hand at writing, in conjunction with Nigel Fairs (Cuddlesome, Jago in Love). The result is interesting…but a bit strange.
“You see here, Leela?”
“It is an empty floor, in a big empty room.”
“…You wish to solve this mystery?”
“Well, why not, I’ve got nothing else on this morning!”
Leela’s having nightmares, the sort that leave her disturbed long after waking. The Doctor knows something’s up, but she’s playing her cards close to her tunic…
Landing on an abandoned luxury liner, they discover a body that disintegrates on touch, leading them directly into one of deep space’s great mysteries.
“Scarcity doesn’t imply value…it can represent a lack of interest.”
And with those sage words of warning to the detestably opportunistic eBay/’storage wars’ scavenger-reseller crowd, we begin a rather odd entry in the Fourth Doctor Adventures.
“If I lived in a region infested by wolves, I should make pit traps around my house and bait them with blood. And when I have caught the wolf, I would skin it and hang its pelt above my door as a warning… or…would that displease you?”
“Leela, you must be true to yourself…I’m not a moral compass either.”
No, you haven’t stumbled across a particularly unpleasant episode of Robbie Coltrane’s Cracker, nor have you wandered into your local Chinatown to be greeted by cries of “gweilo!” Rather you get a ripping yarn originally (and perhaps more appropriately) titled “The Light of Day”.
Fast moving yet atmospheric, claustrophobic yet quite busy and peppered with twists, turns and surprises, ultimately dark but filled with sunny humor throughout, this is one of the best Fourth Doctor Adventures to which I’ve been exposed to date.