Saturday, 6 May 2017
Full review on Starburst.
The Doctor and Romana land on a World War II era British submarine at the start of this latest Fourth Doctor Adventure, but it immediately becomes apparent that not everything is as you’d expect. For a start, it’s floating in space. Most of the crew are missing, and there are creatures flying around outside, trying to get in. And then there’s the talking chimpanzee.
This is, undoubtedly, a brilliant set-up – a Douglas Adams-esque mix of sci-fi and surrealism that fits in perfectly with Tom Baker’s run on the show, and which immediately conjures up images in the mind. For that, we can commend Adrian Poynton, a sitcom writer making his Doctor Who debut.
As the Doctor investigates all the questions thrown up by this odd situation, however, the answers he uncovers aren’t quite so imaginative. The second half of the story revolves largely around a scientist regretting having created what he’s come to see as a monstrosity, a Frankenstein-inspired trope which we’ve seen or heard in Doctor Who many times, while Sheila Ruskin’s villain Flague struggles to be much more than a war-hungry megalomaniac.
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