Delta and the Bannermen: Doctor Who: Season 24
Delta and the Bannermen SYNOPSIS:
Delta, the chimeron queen escapes the genocide of her people at the hands of Gavrok and his Bannermen. She is pursued to a space toll gate and hides aboard an alien holiday makers transport whose destination is Disneyland on Earth in 1959. The Doctor and Mel also land at the toll port and being the the ten billionth customers are allowed to join the passengers on board the transport to Earth.
Colliding with an Earth satellite sees the transport disguised as a holiday makers bus crash on Earth near a holiday camp in South Wales. The alien passengers disguised as humans are welcomed by Burton and his holiday camp staff. Mel gets to know Delta and uncovers the truth of her situation and sees the hatching of Delta's egg.
Gavrok and his Bannermen have tracked Delta to Earth and the Doctor tries to persuade Burton to evacuate his camp and with Mel tries to find Delta who has gone off for a romantic interlude with Billy the camp's mechanic. The Doctor must find them and the rapidly growing Chimeron child before the Bannermen rampage and destroy most of South Wales in order to complete their mission.
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Delta and the Bannermen DETAILS:
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Delta and the Bannermen CAST & CREW
Sylvester McCoy (Seventh Doctor)
Bonnie Langford (Melanie Bush)
Don Henderson - Gavrok
Belinda Mayne - Delta
Richard Davies - Burton
Stubby Kaye - Weismuller
Morgan Deare - Hawk
David Kinder - Billy
Martyn Geraint - Vinny
Sara Griffiths - Rachel 'Ray' Defwydd
Hugh Lloyd - Goronwy
Ken Dodd - Tollmaster
Brian Hibbard - Keillor
Johnny Dennis - Murray
Leslie Meadows - Adlon
Anita Graham - Bollit
Clive Michael Condon - Callon
Richard Mitchley - Arrex
Tim Scott - Chima
Jessica McGough, Amy Osborn - Young Chimeron
Laura Collins, Carley Joseph - Chimeron Princess
Robin Aspland, Keff McCulloch, Justin Myers, Ralph Samins - The Lorells
Tracey Wilson, Jodie Wilson - Vocalists
Production Staff for Serial 7F:
Writer - Malcolm Kholl
Director - Chris Clough
Script editor - Andrew Cartmel
Producer - John Nathan-Turner
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Delta and the Bannermen REVIEWS
From some dirty, stinkin' futuristic high rise to 1950's Wales via a galatic tollgate…and the question….why?
…onward we go, into what I personally feel is the lowest point in the show's history. Andrew Cartmel drags in Malcolm Kholl (another of Cartmel's mates Grob?) who seriously does not know what this show is about and gives us Delta and the Bannermen.
This is original sure, but it just ain't Dr Who. So to save a rant let's list the top ten things I hate about Delta and the Bannermen.
- the plot, where was it? Delta just seems to be be a run around plot about a princess on the run from bad guys with a love story thrown in for good measure…oh and she looks human but lays big silver eggs - big deal!
- the script, why so badly written? Neither the writer or the script editor seem to want to give anything for the actors to get their teeth stuck into and it shows.
- the direction, Chris Clough, unfortunately proves he's no director with this year's effort, there's nothing remotely interesting in the visuals and he's content to further reduce any tension, any 'plot' development by further reflecting how much this has now become an amateurish kids show.
- the performances, apart from sexy Sara Griffiths portrayal of happy go lucky Ray, everyone else is carved from…well not even fine mahogany but second rate chipboard or off the bone leg ham.
- the casting, comedy actor Ken Dodd as a dodgy intergalatic Tony Barber in a glitter suit? Don Henderson as the leader of apparently the most ruthless band of mercenaries in the galaxy? About as scary and menacing as being slapped with a wet lettuce leaf.
- the supporting characters, who cares about the two inept CIA agents? America would be in trouble if things were left up to them to sort out but ho-ho of course they're the "comedy" element. As is Garonwy a bee keeper, who gives a mumbling performance but seriously who gives a shit about this guy? Or any of the holiday camp staff?
- the aforementioned comedy element, this is apparently supposed to be light hearted and funny, thing is about comedy is it's supposed to be ACTUALLY funny, to make people laugh. The efforts in this, even Sylv's re-emerged gurning wouldn't be enough to make a 3 year old laugh.
- the leads, like Paradise Towers the two leads don't really have any discernible characters they just sort of potter along being cyphers for the plot and act as camp as everyone else. Someone mention camp?
- the setting in a holiday camp in Wales in the 1950's. The worst and most awful setting for a Who story yet! A spaceship designed as a 1950's bus? It's just executed so badly, never has the BBC missed the mark before or since with a period piece, everyone acts as though they are just wearing 1950's costumes.
- I'm a fan of musicals if they're done well, merging Dr Who and a wacky 1950's set comedy / musical piece isn't the good merging of two genre's, especially when both elements are really poor and can't compliment each other.
Ok mini rant - Man Delta and the Bannermen is so cheesy but the cheese has long since gone off. It's like Dr Who done as an episode of the old Batman tv series but without the pure send up element and belly laughs attached. Even Adam West would be hard pressed to make something out of the material provided. It starts off so well in the first 5 minutes with Bannermen ruthless chasing down the chimeron and massacring them for…well God knows why, that's just passed over. Then the Bannermen become just a hopeless bunch of extra's wandering around old fashioned Earth with flags on their heads. Gavrok sounds threatening but does bugger all. Some ruthless mercenaries they turned out to be, killed by a bunch of bees.
The love story part is even done badly - here's a clue the actors should have at least…well acting ability and chemistry so you think they're in love, unfortunately the princess and the 1950's mechanic are flatter than a steamrolled pancake. The most astonishing thing of all as Delta And the Bannermen was promoted as THE SEASON HIGHLIGHT!! All because they throw McCoy on a motorbike for promo photo's…oh what's the point you already know my score…yep it's a ZERO out of ten, if we could do negative scores this would be my chance to give -10/10.
Like Paradise Towers before it, it is simply down to an appalling script and rubbish direction. Once again Andrew Cartmel chooses one of his unemployed and talentless mates to write for the show believing that once again he is one of Britain's most talented writers. Malcolm Kholl......you are a SHITHOUSE WRITER!!!!!! Delta and the Bannermen is almost a carbon copy of Paradise Towers insomuch that instead of the Doctor and Mel wandering around a rundown tower block and bumping into a bunch of stereotypical characters portrayed by hammy actors, we have Doctor and Mel wandering around countryside Wales and bumping into a bunch of stereotypical characters portrayed by hammy actors.
The fault of this type of lousy and amateurish writing lies firmly at the feet of script editor Andrew Cartmel and his arse-buddy Malcolm Kholl as neither has any firm grasp on what writing for television is actually about, and both certainly have no idea about the series they are supposed to be working on. I am just amazed that Cartmel used so many inexperienced writers that point blank could not be bothered researching the basic concepts of what Doctor Who is actually about. There is no suspense, or drama, or believable characters that you could invest any interest in, nor even any resemblance to a decent and coherent plot. As Goldby said; this was supposed to be the highlight of the season! Excuse me, but shouldn't the first story of a new Doctor be the highlight of the season? Oh yeah; Time and the Rani. Hmmm, maybe not.
Delta and the Bannermen was also billed as a comedy. I thought comedy was supposed to be funny (or tragic depending on your point of view) and this is neither. Its dull. The whole Bannerman/Delta thing has been done so many times before in the show and Gavrok is so utterly predictable and lacking any depth that its a fight between who is more responsible for that; the idiot writer or the ham fisted actor Don Henderson. Then there are those two appallingly unfunny CIA agents played by Stubby Kaye and Eric Heyes who somehow go round the Welsh countryside looking for a satellite that was knocked off course by a frigging space bus by using a hand held brass telescope and a short wave valve radio!!!! What about using a bloody radio telescope like the ones in.......................ohh, I dunno, AMERICA!!!! Where the bloody satellite came from originally!!!
I remember reading a review that Delta and the Bannermen can be likened to the writings of Douglas Adams. Make of that what you will. Although comparing Malcolm Kohll with Douglas Adams is like comparing Hitler with Mother Theresa.
And can somebody please take director (there's a loose term if ever there was) Chris Clough into the hills and shoot him? You are making a right Nicholas Mallett of yourself. You have no imagination. You are a useless, worthless, unimaginative talentless hack.
Like Goldby, I'm gonna give my top ten as well. The WORST scenes in Delta and Bananaman.....
10. The spacebus aliens transmogrifying (or whatever, I dunno. I made that word up I think) their appearance to go on board the space bus 9. The spacebus scenes where they are singing rock and roll songs. 8. Those horrendous Ken Dodd as the tollmaster scenes 7. The Tardis capturing the spacebus with its tractor beam. 6. The whole Billy/Ray (Cyrus) love scenes 5. The whole Billy/Delta love scenes 4. Any scenes featuring those two idiot CIA agents 3. Any scenes featuring Hugh Lloyd 2. Any scenes featuring that annoying Chimeron child 1. Any scene written by Malcolm Kholl
Delta and the Bannermen is not some whimsy, comedy romp thank you John Nathan Turner. This is embarrassing, pointless, unwatchable, predictable, childish rubbish.
Zero out of ten.
Delta and the Bannermen's main strength however is it's premise. The opening scene of the chimeron / bannermen war, with Delta escaping with "the future of the chimeron" is great stuff, and the coincidental meeting up with the Doctor on the space-station works fine as well... although Mel getting excited about winning a trip to Disneyland is ridiculous... look at the places the TARDIS has taken you already you stupid woman... do you really think it couldn't take you to Disneyland if you wanted to!? Actually, her packing a bag and bunking up in a cabin is ridiculous too... but that's incidental - the actual premise of the plot is still strong. The last of the chimeron race ends up on Earth and the Bannermen get wind of her being there - end of part one... and it's a reasonably strong part.
Then we get part two - at the beginning of which Mel decides to fall asleep in the middle of the big explanation of why the Bannermen are after the Chimeron - and why we should care that the Chimeron are about to be wiped out by this militia... and as Mel wakes up, the story's over... HUH? We were just on the cusp of something interesting, and then we miss the vital bit of information that could have built up a nice little story, but instead we get no explanation of this (I mean, why would you bother - look DELAT and the Bannermen...they're only in the fricking title of the story!) and because some doofus mechanic decides that he wants to be a chimeron too cos he heard the story that we should have heard, we're supposed to believe that they're all great. 5 minutes it would have taken. 5 minutes. That would have only meant cutting the ludicrous American blokes (actually, Weismuller was OK, but Hawke was just awful) - who's premise (Sputnik) had been cut anyway, and then we would have had a reason to care for Delta and her race, and we would have had some much needed back-story.
Can you imagine how different Caves of Androzani would have been if they decided not to tell us about the history between Jek and Morgus? And with that, I believe this is the one and only time that Caves of Androzani and Delta and the Bannermen have ever been compared or mentioned in the same sentence.
Look, the rest of the story doesn't completely suck arse... but it comes close. The stuff with bees could have been OK maybe if they were given some relevance in the back-story we never got (or did we get some back-story last night in Planet of the Ood - where Bees have been disappearing from Earth?)
Performance wise... I like the Doctor. I guess Delta's OK... well she's hot... and Ray's OK, but she's not got the same spunk as Ace. Mel was rubbish as per normal. Actually, I like the old Welsh bloke who runs the holiday camp, he was good... and the bloke playing Gavrok wasn't so bad - just needed some back story... I mean, are they from the planet Banner? I know a lot of people like to bag Ken Dodd - but really, his role was insignificant and didn't worry me in the slightest. I did feel a bit sorry for the Bee man when he lost all his honey... so he must have been OK too... but not really...
Direction wise Clough does a pretty good job with the first episode, and then, like the script he's shooting, gets a bit careless... but Delta and the Bannermen is still pretty watchable - mainly because some of the scenes with the Doctor are very good... particularly the scene where he tells of Gavrok at the end of part one.
So how do you rate a story with a decent premise that really fails to deliver?