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New Doctor; new dawn?
on 12 April 2011
It has to be said that for fans of Doctor Who, this one's all about searching for the positives, and there are some honestly! Colin Baker's first serial as the Timelord was actually part of Peter Davison's final season, rather than a new one for him. Strangely, I couldn't have imagined Davison's Doctor in this story; the garish colours, poorly realised monsters and weak script immediately put Baker's position in jeopardy; was this pantomime really our favourite Sci-fi TV show?
The positives are Baker's aggressive and unbalanced portrayal of The Doctor after his recent regeneration; unfortunately this went a bit too far but was an exciting and unpredictable way for a new incarnation of the Timelord to behave, and the scenes where he tries to throttle his companion Peri (many viewers would not have complained if he had) are well-directed, and thanks to the incidental music, tense and worrying. Kevin McNally as ace pilot Hugo Lang also lends much needed gravitas and style to the proceedings, whilst Maurice Denham as Azmael, Master of Jaconda, is typically classy.
The rest is a bit of a mess really, with the slug-like Mestor looking about as threatening as, well a garden slug, his Jacondan slaves looking like pantomime characters, and the twins Romulus and Remus, who are frankly pretty wet.
Many fans (including Russell T Davies interestingly) see this story as the point where their show went down the tubes completely, and it is notable that this is the final Colin Baker DVD to be released on DVD. Whilst there are some good moments, they are few and far between and the serial ultimately looks cheap, tacky, and shoddily made.