Thursday, 5 September 2013
The Two Doctors.
Another multi-Doctor story, written by Robert Holmes.
The return of Jamie, and the Sontarans.
Lots of significant things going on here, and it is unfortunate that it is such a poor story. Robert Holmes was presented with a "shopping list" of elements which JNT wanted included. As such, he was not writing to his strengths.
In order for this story to make sense, you have to accept that the apocryphal Season 6b exists. The second Doctor is working for the Time Lords, so events here must take place after The War Games. You can read my full views on Season 6b in a previous post.
Troughton had enjoyed his brief reunion with Frazer Hines during the filming of The Five Doctors, and so JNT aimed to reunite them properly once Hines was free from his Emmerdale commitments.
The story was originally supposed to be set - and filmed - in New Orleans, but the budget would not stretch. The Spanish city of Seville took its place as the theme of food was intrinsic to the plot. The new alien race - Androgums - is an anagram of Gourmands. Seville is, apparently, renowned for its cuisine. A bit of a lame excuse to go abroad. JNT just wanted a paid holiday at the expense of the BBC.
The Sontarans make their return after a long absence, and unfortunately a tall actor is chosen to play the lead. So much for "nasty, brutish and short...".
At 3x 45 minute episodes it is unexciting. The Doctors don't actually meet until the final stages. When they do get together, we get some great badinage - which frustrates you that they have been kept apart so long. Troughton is also separated from Hines for much of the story - again defeating the purpose of reuniting them.
The whole Oscar Botcherby sub-plot just feels contrived and tacked on. It's padding.
Proof that multi-Doctor stories are not automatically great ones.