Silver Nemesis: Doctor Who: Season 25
Silver Nemesis SYNOPSIS:
Enjoying a brief respite on contemporary Earth circa 1988, the Doctor and Ace soon get caught up with various factions searching for a powerful sentient metal the Doctor knows far more about than he is letting on. The first faction arrive from 1638 being Lady Peinforte and her servant Richard who use 'black magic' to travel to 1988, the second is a group of modern day nazi's and the final group is revealed to be the cybermen.
The cybermen followed a statue of the living metal known as validium to Earth and capture it after disposing of most of the nazi army who come to claim it. Lady Peinforte possesses an arrow made of validium and needs the statue and the statues bow to activate the substance. The Doctor steals the statues bow from remaining nazi De Flores before the others can capture it.
Flitting to various points of time and space the Doctor relates how he brought the validium metal from Gallifrey and split it into three components which are all required before the owner can use the statues power. Peinforte lays claim intending to blackmail the Doctor with secrets from his past. While De Flores forges an alliance with the cybermen to take the bow from the Doctor by force.
Return to top of page
Silver Nemesis DETAILS:
Return to top of page
Silver Nemesis CAST & CREW
Sylvester McCoy (Seventh Doctor)
Sophie Aldred (Ace)
Anton Diffring — De Flores
Metin Yenal — Karl
Fiona Walker — Lady Peinforte
Gerard Murphy — Richard
Leslie French — Mathematician
Martyn Read — Security Guard
Dolores Gray — Mrs Remington
Chris Chering, Symond Lawes — Skinheads
David Banks — Cyber Leader
Mark Hardy — Cyber Lieutenant
Brian Orrell — Cyberman
Courtney Pine, Adrian Read,
Ernest Mothle, Frank Tontoh — Jazz Quartet
Production Staff for Serial 7K:
Writer - Kevin Clarke
Director - Chris Clough
Script editor - Andrew Cartmel
Producer - John Nathan-Turner
Return to top of page
Silver Nemesis REVIEWS
All the way from Alpha Major - Minor whatever…to Winsdor in 1988 and 1638…for everyone's favourite (?) Silver Nemesis
So the daleks have had their exit from the classic series and now it's the cybermen's turn. But they don't get the deal their stablemate monsters got. First Andrew Cartmel hires Kevin Clarke who I remember reading an interview with back in my teens as never having watched the series before but appreciating it's popularity. Why hire this guy (who seemed a bit of an up himself prick, we must have read and remembered the same interview Grob, geek points to me) to write the 25th anniversary story starting on 23rd of November 1988? It's puzzling but JN-T doesn't seem to care, he's too busy doing either publicity or leafing through job applications…and why didn't Cartmel twig that the Silver Nemesis script was EXACTLY the same as Rememberance and in the same season no less than one story in between them. This really is a major f*ck up, was he actually in the office when the scripts were coming in?
But onward to the production, Silver Nemesis is all filmed on location and it's directed by now stalwart director Chris Clough, who's really proving that he should stop directing the show he doesn't know how to execute the scripts whether they're bad or good. But ok it does have some nice touches. Let's go over them first, the location stuff around the castle does look really good, particularly the bits filmed around the forest. The bit where the token cyber drones are shooting at the Dr and Ace and they pretend to get hit and fall into the river to escape was nice. The battle scene between the Nazi's and the cybermen was good, least the silver giants are back to not being affected by bullets again. The model ship looked pretty good too until it was blown up. Sophie and Sylv's acting was good but for some reason it seemed to 'stagey' when we got to the parts about the Doctor's real identity in the final scenes. The guy playing Richard the archer was very good and had the most believable performance out of the rather sorry guest cast Silver Nemesis got.
Now the bad bits, Silver Nemesis is a carbon copy of Rememberance (yawn! Seen it all before and it was done a lot better) the script really needed about another 3 to 4 re-writes even as a carbon copy story. Some guff just didn't make sense. The queen sequence was dumb, they didn't need her help, and how the Doctor and Ace escaped from the guards was a mystery until the extended cut came out on video. Any 'comedy' bits with those two extra's playing punks was just stupid and that really shit house woman playing the American tourist what sort of comedy is this? It's like the style of Delta and the Bannerman is being used as a template! The Tardis seems to make more trips in Silver Nemesis than the last 3 series put together for what? To show off the "touristy Windsor" locales?
Silver Nemesis covered no back story bits such as how Lady Pein-in-the-arse forte learned to be such a good sculptor to carve the Nemesis statue nor are how the Nemesis arrow and a potion can make them time travel to the future. And how many times is the 23 November reinforced in the script????WAY TOO MANY. We know it's an anniversary story -jeeezzz!! More back story could have gone into the Nazi's too but this was just glossed over and they were made a token 'third force'.
Anton Differing and his offsider didn't really give convincing performances for you to care about them or hate them. Pein-in-the-arse-fort was good sometimes when she got the slimeyness but boy could she go unconvincingly OTT sometimes- not good because it made me just want to stab her for lousy acting. They were too many 'internal references too, like the chess game in her study. Important bits of dialogue were again drowned out by Keff "I've got a pink keyboard" Mcnuttoff's cheesy and atmosphere absent music.
Then the slver of Silver nemesis the cybermen turned up.They looked good in their wicket keeper gloves but slightly plasticky up top. But now these guys are scared by the mere presence of gold wandering round with their gold detector. In Earthshock it has to be grated into the Cyber Leader's chest unit before he succumbs, but how does even a gold arrows or coins penetrate their armour? It just makes them look a joke. These guys can get killed by anything. Lack of research on the past, terrible comedy bits and even the somewhat forced revelations of the Doctor's past combined with a dodgy cast and direction sort of ruin Silver Nemesis. The BBC must have seen the anniversary was coming up and when they noticed this story decided to cancel the show again. 2/10
But that is enough about Rememberance of the Daleks, lets look at the plot of Silver Nemesis; A Doctor Who anniversary story centred around the date of November 23 involving one of the Doctor's oldest enemies who are after an ancient Galifreyian artifact that the Doctor had a hand in .......oh.
Yep, two stories in the SAME season filmed TWO months apart with the EXACT SAME storyline!!!! FOR FUCK SAKE; WHAT WERE THE BBC PAYING ANDREW FUCKWIT CARTMEL TO DO?????? Remember, this is the guy who is SUPPOSED to be script editing the show. This is the guy with his finger on its pulse. This is the guy who should know what is happening with the story lines. This is the guy who should stop sticking his cock into his own arse and actually DO SOME FUCKING WORK!!!! Take a guess at when Andrew Dipshit Cartmel realised that the script for Silver Nemesis was the fucking same as Rememberance of the Daleks. If you guessed "When they started filming Silver Nemesis" then you would be correct. Even though there were umpteen bloody rewrites of what is without a doubt the ABSOLUTE WORST Doctor Who script of all time, it wasn't until the crew started setting up for the first bit of Outside Broadcast Video Filming that Andrew stopped playing with his testicles and looked at Kevin Clarke's useless Silver Nemesis script and went "uh oh."
So what did Anal Andrew do? Well he did pretty much what he always did in his position of Doctor Who script editor which was next to nothing but get pissed with one of his writer mates and hand out business cards with his name on it cos it had the title "Script Editor" under it. Do you know why Andrew Pinhead liked Ben Sonofabitch so much? Cos Ben did all the work on his Dalek story leaving Andrew to do nothing but take all the credit. But as fun as it would be to keep burying a hatchet into Andrew's thick skull, lets take a look at the Silver Nemesis script writer that other non-talented, egotistical, hack writing, cum-guzzling little gutter turd called Kevin Clarke.
Here are some things Kevin Clarke said about himself in an interview with Doctor Who Magazine in 1988: (Tim; don't ask. I know you want to, but don't. I can't explain it. I just remembered it.) He was a true populist. His writing would appeal "across the board" His writing was as good - if not better - than the Jacobean style of writing theatre (look it up, Tim!) He was a far superior writer than the fans who were sending in scripts to the DW script editor and if they didn't believe him then they should see who's script is now getting produced; his or theirs.
And here are a few things Kevin said about the series that he was now entrusted to write for: He only saw the series once or twice and he hated it. He didn't even want to write for it feeling it was beneath him. He simply didn't understand what the premise of the series was about. He still didn't want to write for the series even after agreeing to do so. He had no idea how to write the script or what to put in Silver Nemesis until late in the proceedings.
And Kevin's thoughts on the cybermen: He never at any stage researched their history or watched any stories they were featured in. He had no idea what their motives would be so he basically "fashioned them like God".He remembered someone saying they might be allergic to gold so thought that was as good an idea as any to run with. And finally, Kevin's thoughts on the future of Doctor Who: He should be entrusted to write Golden Nemesis for the fiftieth anniversary based on how good his script for Silver Nemesis is.
END OF PART ONE.....
Rather than review the plot per say, lets ask a few questions and maybe ponder some dodgy logic of Silver Nemesis;
1. How did the Nemesis statue stay in an exact orbit around the earth, passing by every 25 years when you have to take in leap years? 2. How can it be hot and sunny during November in England? 3. How do you travel forward in time by drinking a potion? 4. How does Lady Painful and Dick materialise screaming into a fully occupied cafe and no one notice? 5. Since when did the Nazis have a retirement villa in South America? 8. How does De Flores and his goons get enough weapons to start a small war through customs in England? 9. How was a wanted Nazi criminal allowed into the country? 10. How did De Flores and his mates make it to Windsor castle? In FULL UNIFORM? 11. A meteorite lands near Windsor castle, three cops get killed and no one else turns up to investigate? 12. Since when does the Doctor need an alarm clock to remind him of encroaching danger? 13. What is the point of it when he can't remember why he set it, or which planet is in danger? 14. But its a good thing he's on the exact planet at the exact time that the danger is taking place though! 15. How does a cyber ship land in the middle of a populated English town and no one notice (and later take flight across the country side?) 16. How does an open air battle between Nazi criminals and aliens take place with guns and explosions and not one member of the public notice? 17. How does the Doctor and Ace wander about Windsor Castle for so long and not get caught by anyone? 18. When they do get caught how do they escape? 19. Why does Ace exclaim that the cybermen saved her life when clearly it was an accident? 20. How do the cybermen recognise an incarnation of the Doctor they have not seen before? 21. Who moved the body of the mathematician when the Doctor and Ace return to 1638 the second time? 22. If the cybermen are so damn mighty, why don't they take down Lady Painful and Dick in one shot instead of retreating from them? 23. Since when are the cybermen scared of arrows anyway? 24. Since when does the cyberleader negotiate with humans? 25. A Nazi war criminal is STILL wandering freely about the countryside!!! 26. Cybermen are STILL wandering freely about the countryside!!! 27. If the whole planet is in danger, why are the Doctor and Ace lying about listening to music? 28. If the cybermen have only just arrived on Earth, how did they get their two human zombies? 29. If the cybermen are all powerful cyborgs/robots/whatever, why do they stand around with their arms folded? 30. Since when are the cybermen scared of a teenage girl armed with just a sling shot? 31. Why don't they just (I dunno...........) SHOOT HER FOR FUCK SAKE????? 32. Why do two cybermen stand in the way of the jet exhaust of the meteorite even when the Doctor told them to get out of the way? 33. How - EXACTLY - does Lady Painful mesh with the statue and why does she anyway? 34. If the Doctor's secret is so crucial, why doesn't she just flippin' SAY IT???? 35. If the Doctor planned this from the very start why was he so forgetful about his alarm clock going off and why did he have to keep going back to 1638 when one trip there would suffice? 36. How the fuck did Silver Nemesis get fucking made?????
Bugger it, I'm gonna have another tanty. Egomaniac wanker Kevin Clarke spent his entire Doctor Who Magazine interview saying what a damn good writer he was for coming up with so many plot elements and fusing them all together so successfully in a way that no other writer could have done (note to Kevin; you are a complete fuckwit. Pull your head out of your arse and pull your dick out of the grapefruit while you're at it.) Here is a list of SOME of the elements that are in Kevin's shithouse script;
1. The Doctor and Ace 2. Nazis 3. Cybermen 4. Lady Painful and Dick. 5. The Nemesis thing. 6. The Queen (for fuck sake!) 7. Skinheads 8. Gaye Gay and her limo 9. Courtney Pine and his band 10. Llamas
And yet, the whole of Silver Nemesis is reduced to everyone just wandering around the countryside (or travelling back and forth from 1638) for no fucking reason!!! You would think that a story that featuured - at the very least - the Doctor, Ace, Cybermen, Nazis, Lady Painful and Dick, Nemesis and Llamas would need more than three episodes to make it work right? Nope. Not if your writer has no idea what to do with it all and just makes everyone potter about from one ludicrous scene to another adding nothing to the story. Of course that you could argue that a decent script editor would have stopped trying to suck his own cock and do something about it but that is asking a bit much from Andrew "Its not my job to write Doctor Who!" Cartmel. So while Cartmel tries to taste his own jizz, we have a story that has more padding than in Kevin's bloody cell. Here are SOME scenes used to pad Silver Nemesis out;
1. The band concert. 2. The Doctor and Ace jumping in the river and swimming. 3. The Doctor and Ace travelling back and forth from 1638 a total of FOUR TIMES FOR NO REASON!!! 4. The Doctor and Ace joining the Windsor Castle visitor tour. 5. The Windsor Castle visitor tour. 6. The Queen. 7. The skinheads. 8. The limo scene. 9. The llama scene. 10. The duck scene.
Silver Nemesis is the story written to celebrate the series 25th anniversary. This story was written by a bloke claiming to be the best writer England has ever seen. Silver Nemeis was commissioned by a script editor who is paid to do his freaking job and edit scripts. Silver Nemesis and its fuckwit writer are a bloody disgrace.
But tune in again tommorrow as we wrap up what is without a doubt the worst ever produced Doctor Who story....
PS: If you don't believe me as to what a complete wanker Kevin Clarke is, here is what he had to say about writing the novelization; "They'd asked me several months before [to do the novelisation], but I'd turned it down because I disliked the idea of taking every word I'd written for the television script and multiplying it by fifteen. But with the lure of the money at a later time when I didn't have a job on the horizon, I sat down and did it. I hated every moment of it, even to the point where I would do a set number of pages each day to force myself to finish it. The rather cynical dedication in the front is to someone called DHF Somerset, whose signature appeared on new bank notes at the time! I've been expecting a letter from the Bank of England ever since." Wanker.
Silver Nemesis is the absolute worst piece of Doctor Who ever made! The failure of this extraordinary piece of complete shite is due to three things; the script, the production and finally the acting. As a writer, Kevin Clarke is so far in love with himself that he has virtually no idea of how little talent (or more accurately; none) he really has. He is an egotistical, useless, tiresome, arrogant wanker. As a script editor Andrew Cartmel has absolutely no idea of what he has to do or how to achieve it. By the way, Andrew Cartmel has written a few non-fiction books on writing for the series which is a pretty pathetic attempt to cash in on the popularity of the new series and pretend to be "one of the guys". Hey; how are the careers going now, Andrew and Kevin? Yeah; thought so.
The production side of Silver Nemesis is an absolute shambles. It is done entirely on video which makes it look even more cheap. It is apallingly directed by Mr Point-and-Shoot Chris Clough who - like many behind the camera, if not in front of it, is apathetic towards the final product. He gets nothing out of his actors and simply can't build up any feeling of tension or drive or reason for anyone to watch this. Of course, the script doesn't help matters. Keff McMuffin;s incidental music is far from incidental and is loud, obtrusive and pollution to the ears. Like Kevin Clarke, he feels that now he has secured this plum gig he therefore doesn't need to deliver the goods - the fact that he got the job is enough. Oh and that cybership; looks like two cereal boxes painted silver. And that CSO really makes it look like its flying. Not.
The acting here is shocking all round. Sylvester McCoy's delivery is stilted, particularly all his scenes at Windsor Castle when he first sees the Queen; "Quick after her!" "What do you mean?" "Aaaghhh!" He sounds like he is just making shit up on the spot. His later scenes where he is supposed to be all mysterious and knowing are very forced and he simply doesn't do angry well - he just yells and it looks real bad. Sophie Aldred is to acting as Andrew Cartmel is to script editing and I have never been convinced by her whole tom-boy character. Her lines are totally artificial and she acts like she is on an afternoon edition of Play School.
Anton Differing as De Flores isn't even trying. He went on record saying that he is only doing the show cos he can see the tennis while he is over there which makes you wonder why certain people are getting gigs in Doctor Who; a writer who didn't want to do it, a script editor who never watched the show previously and not once researched the show while working on it, and a guest actor who wanted to be somewhere else. Diffring says his lines from an auto-cue by the sounds of it and he mumbles everything with a couldn't-give-a-shit attitude. I'm sure Fiona Walker is a very good actress elsewhere and you gotta pity her for saying lines like "Glorious evil!" and "All things shall be mine!" but in Silver Nemesis she is far too over the top and pantomime. David Banks has sunk a long way from the performance he gave in Earthshock as he now joins Christopher Robbie as a Cyberleader with a whole host of new emotions like clenching his fist at the Doctor like a poor man's Mr Wilson from Dennis the Menace.
And who the fuck is that American tourist???? What the fuck was that scene all about???? Oh yeah; PADDING!!! Silver Nemesis is just so............so totally unwatchable from every aspect. It is clearly written, produced and acted from people and departments who just simply don't give a fuck about the show and have no idea how to do their jobs. Silver Nemesis is supposed to be the anniversary story and it lets the viewer down in every possible way. 6.3 million people tuned in to watch the first episode. By the end of it, quite a few had dropped off. And I don't blame them.
ZERO OUT OF TEN!!!
Oh, as a final note on dear old Kevin Clarke, he gave a further interview to Doctor Who Magazine in an issue dedicated to the cybermen and he spent the entire interview bitching and moaning about the production of his story and how no one bothered to make it look good and how they wasted his wonderful ideas and amazing dialogue. Yeah Kevin. We should all be looking up to you. Wanker.
I couldn't wait to get Silver Nemesis on video - not only was it one I thoroughly enjoyed first time around, it also came with a "behind the scenes" documentary... this was before the days of DVDs with extras, so something like this was pure gold! I've probably only watched the video once or twice, but that's the same with most of my collection - still enjoyed Silver Nemesis a lot - although noticed more of its faults on the second viewing.
Seeing the volume of the hatred that came from one of our fellow reviewers (which I haven't read yet - but I'll probably respond to tomorrow!!) - I've re-watched Silver Nemesis this time really looking hard for reasons to hate it.
There's one thing I don't like (and never did), and another thing that over time now doesn't work as well - but on the whole I still don't understand the criticism. Silver Nemesis needs some tidying up, but still, I really enjoy it!
OK, so the one thing I really don't like is Anton Diffring. He's made 129 films (thank-you imdb) - how? This guy is terrible! I wondered if it was maybe the Nazi subplot that was terrible - but no, that all fits in fine (especially as they're associated pretty closely with the 25 year intervals in the 20th century) - it's just him. For a bloke who's supposed to be about leading the 4th reich and control the earth, he's completely uninspiring and has no charisma whatsoever... I'm sure when he said anything as he stood next to the Fuehrer, Adolf would have said "who the hell is this schmuck"... OK... he may not have said the word schmuck... but really he is terrible.
It's no surprise when his faceless 2IC usurps him in part 3 (even if it was a bluff - it was a very believable one, given how weak his leader is). Maybe some of the writing could be at fault here a little too, as you'd think such a character should be a big ranty tanty bloke - but there really is no effort put in from Differing... they would have been better off letting him just stay at the tennis (going to Wimbledon was what convinced him to take the part), and give the part to Richard Briers! Seriously Goldby, I reckon his cartoon caretaker is a more convincing war criminal than DeFlores!
That aside, I do really like the rest of Silver Nemesis.
It is very similar to Remembrance of the Daleks - especially the Gallifrey secrety thing taken care of by the Doctor in the past - one of the biggest baddies comes along to use it to take over the world - Doctor manipulates things to ensure special Gallifrey secrety thing blows up baddies. But I believe when Silver Nemesis was shown in Australia, we got this one before Remembrance - so my initial feelings of this couldn't have been "that's the same thing". In fact, I do remember my initial feelings for this made me really think that Dr Who was good again. Time and the Rani made me want to watch again, but if I missed an episode here or there I wasn't fussed (I don't think I'd ever seen the last part of Delta!) - but Silver Nemesis made me want to tape it again to make sure I didn't miss anything. I remembered that the last part especially had so much drama and tension that it really was up there with the best.
Watching it now, the last part kind of holds it back a bit.... but not that much. Maybe it's comparing it to today's standards, but the realisation of some of these ideas does struggle. Some of that is in the writing - tying some of the threads together gets a bit muddy and convenient at times, but most of it is in the direction and editing. And some of that is not Clough's fault - I mean it's not his fault that this was made in 1988, but some of the tension could be a lot greater... and Peinforte jumping into the Nemesis isn't done well at all... a lot more could be made of that. However the Cyberman falling off the catwalk is pretty cool. It's a bit like the Dalek being pushed out of the warehouse I guess, but still, it looks cool!
Does it matter that Silver Nemesis is very similar to Remembrance? Not really. There are only so many stories to tell - I mean how many base / earth under siege stories have we seen over the years. And it's not exactly the same anyway - the bulk of this is running around trying to get the three pieces of the puzzle together - the bulk of Remembrance is running around shitting ourselves over the Daleks... both work.
There are of course some continuity issues (mainly with Ace's earring / broach that she found in Greatest Show) - but that was because they had to change the running order (thanks to the Seoul olympics) to get this one out on November 23... no problem there, but I do wonder why they didn't just change the order back again when it came time to sending it out to other countries or releasing it as cannon? Just cos Silver Nemeis was screened in that order first up doesn't mean it had to be screened in that order in subsequent screenings... but anyway, that's pretty minor.
Now, I have no idea where I'm up to cos I've come back to Silver Nemesis once again to try and finish it off... for the 3rd day in a row! OK... performances... Other than Anton Differing I really like everyone else. I like the continuing development of the Doctor and Ace - particularly the nice little scene where she thinks she might be scared (first time that I thought that yes, she really is only a 16 year old girl), and the Nitro 9 scene is done pretty well too.
I really like Peinforte and Richard too - some of the naivety may be corny, but they are certainly playing them for real... if you were thrown 300 years into the future, I think you'd be just like Richard. That goes for the scene with Delores Gray - I'm guessing that this scene would get bagged a lot as it is pretty corny, but I kind of like it... and it ties in nicely with her ancestry that she's investigating being killed by Peinforte. As I mentioned, some of Peinforte's bits at the end aren't done all that well - but some of that is direction... on the whole she works well, and it's a pity we never got to see the prequel. And the Cybermen are, well, Cybermen... there's nothing really special about them in this (and this is the one with the cricket gloves taped together! I thought that was Attack!) but they still work OK... if just a little flimsy. For instance the converting via a set of headphones... that's a bit pissy!
Finally, the music... we all know that Goldby's mate Keff isn't very popular, but generally it doesn't bother me too much. But - this time it seems to take away from the tension. Look at the way Gold does it in the new series - sometimes it's a bit over the top, but it's always working for the story... here it seems to be working against it. Some good dramatic music could really have helped the last few scenes in the hanger, but instead we got nothing and that took away from the impact.
So, all in all, I think Silver Nemesis is under-rated and I'm still surprised at the caning it gets (am looking forward to reading Grob's review now!). I'll give it an 8 + 0.1 for getting me back into really liking Who!