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4.0 out of 5 stars Grimwade with a capital Grim, 17 Jun. 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who: Earthshock [DVD] (DVD)
It's good this. It's a hell of a lot better than Visitation.

The first episode is nothing if not watchable. Scott's troops searching gloomy caves, and every so often one of them gets dead and turns into a puddle of glop and shredded uniform (CU on name tag 'Snyder'), it's so well done that I wonder if James Cameron was watching and getting ideas for Aliens. The Dr and co. are actually a bit spurious apart from finding a dinosaur skeleton and admitting that Adric really is annoying. (It's taken them two years to notice this?) A more daring production team might have kept them out of it until Episode 2.

The androids work very well, and serve as a very useful stalking horse, besides looking genuinely threatening, and then at the end of the first episode, the big cliffhanger - Cybermen. They were a big surprise in 1982.

It's worth asking how well the story stands up on its own merits, because in 1982 it really ran on 'Ooh Cybermen' for the next couple of weeks.

Well, it's OK. Beryl Reid is good value (cast totally against type), June Bland does good service as Berger (and I seem to recall that her forte was light comedy), and Alec Sabin does a nice turn of embittered treachery as Ringway, but for the Cybermen there is a lot of hide n seek stuff, though the bit where one gets melded into the door is impressive (even if the scientific explanation sounds like twaddle).

In the last episode it all tries to step up a gear and almost slips its footing. The freighter (why hasn't it got a name?) is going back in time to cause a big bang to wipe out the dinosaurs - oh so that's why the skeleton in Episode 1! Bit bloody portentous isn't it? Couldn't we just settle for it landing on Sydney Opera House and blowing up Australia? It's laying it on a bit thick really. Even without the Big Doom Scenario, Adric would still have to do his really hard sums.

It is, to be fair after 30 years, a good exit. Adric does his damnedest and fails with considerable heroism. 'Now I'll never know if I was right'. Boom.

Poor Matthew Waterhouse; he achieved every teenage fan's dream - travel with the Dr, becoming part of Dr Who history - first companion to die since Sara Kingdom, but Adric had never been well liked. However he'd been conceived as an Artful Dodger, he'd turned out an annoying little snirp, and no fault of Matthew Waterhouse - scripts were seldom kind to Adric, and with the most Artful will in the galaxy, you can only say what words they give you.

As my then drama teacher put it 'I haven't laughed so much since the death of Adric'.
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