The Two Doctors: Doctor Who: Season 22
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The Two Doctors CAST & CREW
Colin Baker (Sixth Doctor)
Patrick Troughton (Second Doctor)
Nicola Bryant (Peri Brown)
Frazer Hines (Jamie McCrimmon)
John Stratton — Shockeye
Jacqueline Pearce — Chessene
Laurence Payne — Dastari
Nicholas Fawcett — Technician
James Saxon — Oscar
Carmen Gómez — Anita
Aimée Delamain — Doña Arana
Clinton Greyn — Stike
Tim Raynham — Varl
Production Staff for Serial 6W:
Writer - Robert Holmes
Director - Peter Moffatt
Script editor - Eric Saward
Producer John Nathan-Turner
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The Two Doctors REVIEWS
Now a huge sweeping travel plan from the 17th century slag heaps of North England to a space station billions of light years away and back again to Earth…in Spain circa 1985.
Yes with the Two Doctors, the major fault of season 22 - "let's throw as much from the Doctor's past into this season to make it really complicated and convoluted" really hits a high point with these episodes, the first transmitted virtual six part length story for six years since 1979's Armageddon Factor, yet unfortunately the earlier story makes way more sense than the Two Doctors. Apparently the idea happened as Troughton and Hines said they had so much fun during the making of the Five Doctors that they wanted to do another one. All the fans must have been wetting their collective pants. Only two years from the last multi doctor story and we have another dished up. We have one of the best Doctor / companion teams returning and we have Robert Holmes writing and they're chucking in the sontarans for good measure - it should work!
But the Two Doctors doesn't work overall. Pity because I was really looking forward to this one in the early morning repeats.There's really no reason for a multi doctor story here, despite how great Troughton & Hines are. The others were done for celebratory purposes, this wears the tag of self indulgence, especially as the Two Doctors was filmed overseas in Spain. JN-T seems to be slipping in an overseas filming junket every year now since season 20. This was originally supposed to be shot in the USA though so to raise the profile of the series there even more and ironically was the story being broadcast when the 'cancellation crisis' hit the news. The Two Doctors was supposed to be a season highlight but missed the target for me.
Firstly the script, Robert Holmes hated six part length stories so it makes sense they force him to write this one. It has his clever dialogue and an interesting plot but it feels like two story lines just sort of slapped together, it feels tired. Not only that but Holmes ignores all the continuity established around the time he started writing for the show. The Troughton Doctor and Jamie are now working for the Time Lords and doing missions for them - but he was a fugitive from his own people until the end of his era when finally captured in the War Games!!!! Plus one of the villains in this story actually knows this particular Doctor, wasn't the TARDIS so random that it never landed anywhere, anytime twice? Yet they seem to have met before. Plus the premise is the 6th Doctor has an attack because his past self is nearly killed and therefore rushes to his rescue. He's been closer to death than this in many of his past lives so why hasn't this happened before???????????????????
Holmes also wanted to write in the sontarans because he didn't like the last way they were portrayed. The characters are ok but they sort of clutter the story!!! There's really no need to have them there apart from meeting the second Doctor finally. The story would've flowed better if the Androgums already had their own genetically engineered foot soldiers. Then there's the cannibalistic element, man you're almost beaten over the head with it in every scene featuring the bad guys - DON'T BE A MEAT EATER or eat your relatives it's not good for you - ok Bob, ok we get it!
Next is the direction, yes there are some interesting shots and the requisite "look we're in Spain, we're running around Spain" chase sequence shots but there isn't much that stands out. It's almost as though the director wasn't that interested in his subject material or taking advantage of having the two doctors to make any set pieces instantly memorable. The production seems to fall flat in places, although the Space station scenes do have atmosphere, the pace lags for me around the middle episodes. Although the music is very good and the sets are well designed and lit.
The one thing that raises the Two Doctors is the acting! All the cast get into their roles and are obviously enjoying themselves. Patrick Troughton would be watchable if he was bound and gagged underwater and again plays the Doctor to perfection, knowing the part inside and out. Even though he's missing from the storyline for 40 minutes and then is bound and gagged on an operating table for the next 30! Wish he could have been dashing around more. Pity they lost his dark wig from the Five doctors and he goes about with his noticeably greying hair. Frazer Hines acts as if he never left the role of Jamie and plays it perfectly, and adds new dimensions, lusting after Peri in a gentlemanly way, going crazy and primitive trapped in the depths of the space station.(he seems to accept that the two doctors are still the same person rather easily)
Love the black and white opening shot of the old Tardis console room too. Chessene is great, Jacqueline Pearce is basically playing her lead villain role from Blakes 7 but if you haven't seen it before it's still good. Dastari is good too and acts well in silly sunglasses. Shockeye is a truly frightening threat, here's a monster that looks almost human and his only desire is to eat people and John Stratton makes a meal (pun intended) of the role and was dislikable enough to see getting his just desserts. Although chasing a rat around to bite it's head off is a bit gratuitous. The sontarans were a bit weird, shown here as militaristic buffoons, slapping each other on the shoulders like they're in a retired officers club and they are also far more vulnerable than before and are killed way before the climax!! How bad was that, probably not as bad as the sontaran costumes and masks which have fallen in quality again, their heads look like balloons!
But the leads give probably their best performance as a TARDIS team so far and Colin Baker does seem to lift his game a lot to being more likable, maybe because his acting mentor and childhood Doctor Pat is around and does his best to match up to him and succeeds somewhat. Pity they had barely more than 10 minutes screen time together. Colin seems to act a lot better without the coat! Peri is looking way more gorgeous, especially showing the mid riff and has lost the extra weight she had been putting on and her bickering with the Doctor is thankfully kept to a minimum, except when on board the space station. Pity it takes them nearly another whole episode to get involved with the main action and Baker does seem to crap on about how he's a Time Lord a bit often too, but that's the script's fault. Or is it the script editor's? Still not the best delivered Holmes story but didn't he start getting ill around this time? Still the continuity stuff up around this annoyed me, not as much as School Reunion annoyed you Mr. Long so mines a 6.7/10
You gotta ask yourself what was the point of bringing all these elements into one story and expecting anything resembling a coherent plot or anything that might pass for quality television. Now, it was around this time that Doctor Who was facing cancellation by Michael Grade and I don't blame him one bit considering the dross that has been season 22 thus far. There seems to be an over reliance of mining the series past with continual references (or even entire story lines) based on show's continuity and The Two Doctors is no exception. The Second Doctor, Jamie, Sontarans, Time Lords, it goes on.
Patrick Troughton was especially brought in to play the Second Doctor in the Two Doctors but he spends most of the time either unconscious or hamming it up as an Androgum, so we never actually SEE who or what the second Doctor is like. Meanwhile, the sixth Doctor is just as boring, one-dimensional, blustering and badly acted by Colin Baker spends his whole screen time following the tracks of the second Doctor. Likewise Jamie, who is also utterly wasted and spends his time following around after the sixth Doctor. And then there is Peri who spends the whole time following around Jamie who is following around the Sixth Doctor. Sound boring and dull? Yep that's the Two Doctors to a tee.
Then there is the comedy Sontarans who have been so badly sent up that its pointless bringing them back to the series - ever (which includes their appearances in the new series). They are supposed to be a threatening war like race. Here they are like the Three Stooges (minus one). Again, no point to them.
And filming abroad. What is that about? It added NOTHING to the story and it could have been set anywhere in London, South London, some country village, in fact BLOODY ANYWHERE and it would have made absolutely no difference to the plot what-so-ever. They could have saved heaps on money on the Two Doctors by staying inside the UK. In addition to this waste of money jet setting around Europe is the fact that at the end of the day they substituted the standard Who tradition of running up and down corridors inside space stations to running up and down back alleyways in Spain!!!! Spain is a really nice place to go see, not that any of us actually SAW it in the story - on back alleys and fields.
Finally is the inexcusable high level of pointless violence in the Two Doctors. All of this was gratuitously and explicitly shown on screen by a bunch of self-indulgent and apathetic production team. There was NO REASON WHATSOEVER for Shockeye to kill and eat that defenseless old blind woman. There was NO REASON WHATSOEVER for Chessene to lap up the blood from the rat. There was NO REASON WHATSOEVER for Oscar to be stabbed in the guts in his restaurant. There was NO REASON WHATSOEVER for the Sontarans to be burned, or be blown up or have acid poured over them. And finally, there was NO REASON WHATSOEVER for the Doctor to kill Shockeye. If you don't believe that Colin Baker's portrayal of the Doctor is a thoughtless, disgusting, vile piece of rubbish take a look at the way he relishes in killing Shockeye. Colin Baker has absolutely no idea how to portray the character of the Doctor and this one scene above any other clearly proves it.
Again, the Two Doctors is a prime example as to why the series needed to be cancelled by the BBC. It relies too much on the series' past - and then stuffs it up. It has terrible production values and a lead actor who is way out of his depth and cannot hold a series. Shithouse.
Zero out of ten.
Although it did keep the theme of season 22 alive and well by containing the Sontarans... for no apparent reason at all, other than to have the Sontarans involved in a story. The only thing they add to the show is that they give Chessene a reason (and method) to get to Earth... but I'm sure Holmes could have created another reason and method quite easily had he not been told to include the Sontarans.
Although the Sontaran music is great!
The rest of the Two Doctors is, if not Holmes at his best, then he's pretty close to it! As a 6 parter it hums along very quickly - and is easily the best 6 parter since... well... since his last 6 parter, Talons!
Dastari (great name) is a nice little link to both Doctors - although I guess you could ask, how doesn't Doctor number 6 know what's about to happen, since Doctor number 2 experienced it all while visiting Dastari - we can explain that however as being timey wimey (and I guess Doctor number 2 was knocked out at the time!)... besides that sort of confusion can always happen when yourselves keep flitting around in time and space. But yes, Dastari (aka Brains from the Thunderbirds) is a nice creation - Troughton and Baker are probably the two most verbose Doctors, and you can see them both getting on well with Dastari, babbling on about scientific gobbledygook - which in true Holmes style sounds complex, but really isn't making it very accessible to the viewer. The whole symbiosis stuff, while a little convoluted at the end, all makes perfect sense, and all fits in nicely with the evil Chessene's plan.
And here once again we have another great female villain introduced to the fold. Jacqueline Pearce gives just the right blend of intrigue and deviousness to this multi-layered character borne out of an experiment - and having Shockeye as her off sider, we see what her "other side" could easily be... and Shockeye's a bit of fun too... he's really the "monster" in this one - and Androgums are another welcome addition to the Whoniverse. Apparently Holmes based this around food, as originally this was to be set in New Orleans, and apart from Jazz, food was the only thing he could identify with New Orleans! Turns out the meat eating side of it was also a bit of a nod to him being a keen vegetarian - just as the Doctor has now become based on the ending (and stays true to it until Eccleston orders a steak in Boomtown!).
What really makes the Two Doctors cook though (bad pun intended - sorry, I'll blame all the snot in my head!) is Pat Troughton. The first few minutes in his TARDIS (nicely done with the old console!) are magic - he and Jamie drop right back into their roles straight away, and one of the first things you notice is that Troughton can be just as bombastic as Baker - they're quite a good match! Of course, Troughton isn't as self centred and pompous, but these traits are now on the decrease in Baker, and you can see them trying to play them a lot more comical - getting Peri to carry all the fishing gear for example is played for a laugh - and then there's the line "you should see my Doctor"! Actually, it's Troughton's gold line about earwigs that really makes you see the alignment - that's definitely a line you could see Baker use.
The main plot I guess sees the current Doctor having to rescue his predecessor - and this also shows their differences nicely... they play off each other very well.
All the performances are really top notch. This is probably Colin Baker's best outing... even if he does end it with the violent killing of Shockeye - but it clearly was self defence... and defending his friends. Peri's quite good too - although, like Planet of Fire, it's hard to notice too much with that mid-riff showing... and the headband looks sexy too! As I said, Dastari, Chessene, Shockeye, Troughton and Jamie were all great - and Oscar and his girlfriend are quite nice too. He's a bit pompous, but the strength in the writing of his character is there and you feel for him (and Anita) when he's stabbed at the end.
Production wise the Two Doctors is excellent also. Great sets on the Space Station, and great location shooting in Seville. Did it need to be in Seville - well probably not, but hey, at least it meant the Doctor could take his stupid coat off! I know Grob's not a fan, but I like Peter Moffatt's stories - with one exception... I'm glad he got to make this as his swansong instead of the horrible Twin Dilemma.
I can't give this a perfect score cos the Sontaran storyline is pointless and detracts a little from the time experiment storyline, and the Doctor saving the Doctor storyline... so 2 points off there, but a point on for seeing Pat and Jamie back (and the nice touch in black and white at the start), and 1/2 a point back on for getting me back into Who, and making me really keen to see everything Colin Baker... and Pat Troughton!!!
On second thoughts, 9.5 is a bit much... changing to 8.5/10