Christmas 1984 saw my Dad buy a video recorder so Season 22 was the first time I could tape the show. Blank videos weren’t cheap so I was only allowed two 3 hour tapes. I taped the first two stories on one and taped Rani on second but realised 2 drs wouldn’t fit so taped over it. Timelash I gave a miss but wanted the Dalek story so taped over Varos. Those three stories got watched continually (only replaced by the few videos available to rent )
I was near enough 10 at their time of broadcast and I loved the season, the violence never worried me and certainly didn’t make me violent! Watching again I’m still not sure it’s a problem. The only slight jarring moments are when The Doctor makes Bond style quips after people die, they feel out of place even for Colin’s Doctor.
The 45 minute episode format works for the stories allowing the characters to breathe. A pity we didn’t get more and maybe a few one episode stories.
Attack of the Cybermen is a good start to the season. The continuity obsession is reaching it’s height here and isn’t necessary. The story could still have been told without it. Colin has quickly settled into the role and engages the viewer. The guest cast are good too.
Vengeance on Varos is next, a story with themes still relevant today and a beliveable society with Sil being the best villan the show produced in the 80’s and he’s so brilliantly played by Nabil Shaban.
Mark of the Rani follows and is a more traditional story. The Rani’s a intresting character presented as amoral rather than evil. Sadly The Master is back to being a pantomine villan and completely unnecessary to the story. The location is great making it all look good even including the plastic tree!
The Two Doctors is a big favourite of mine. The three episodes gives both Doctor’s time to shine. The story is a typical Robert Holmes story full of great characters and some great lines. The direction isn’t as dynamic as it could be but that doesn’t stop my enjoyment one bit.
Timelash follows, another story with a lower fan opinion than deserved. It’s never boring, both Colin and Paul Darrow are a joy to watch and The Borad looks great and is played wonderfully. Pity there’s a load of silly TARDIS arguing scenes, perhaps this would’ve made a good one parter!
Revelation of the Daleks ends things in style. It’s a wonderful dark story full of black humour with great and believable characters. There’s no fault to be found here, everything just gells.
The season as a whole is so underrated and I wish more fans would ignore perceived wisdom and watch the stories with a open mind.
I’ve mentioned before that I became a fan during the end of Tom’s time and become a avid viewer with Peter’s era but I think it’s the Colin Baker years that turned me into a rabid fan. I was virtually 9 when The Twin Dilemma aired and 10 for his first full season and I think that was the perfect age for those stories.
I’ve also mentioned before that I don’t like stories I think are boring and that’s certainly not a word you can use for any of Colin’s stories. Like Tom and Patrick before him he is always watchable and intresting regardless of the story.
As for the costume I think looking at it now it was a bit of a mistake for all the obvious reasons people including Colin have stated but back in 1984/5 I had no problem with it and neither did others of my age, in fact I quite remember liking it!
The story itself is one I enjoy and it always baffles me why it ranks so lowly. The Jaconda story is good and Azmael is a nice character performed well. The Doctor is clearly struggling with his regeneration which is far more believable than just shrugging and getting on with things. The decision to make him a bit more abrubt and alien is the perfect contrast to Peter’s Doctor.
I hope that Colin’s recent DWM interview and the following twitter conversation will lead more fans to forget what they’ve heard and reevaluate this wonderful era.
Season 21 is a great season. Peter Davison has really got into his stride and I think it’s a shame he left when he did as I do think even just one more series would’ve been enough to overcome the long shadow of Tom Baker which seemed to loom over the three short Doctor reigns of the eighties.
Warriors of the Deep isn’t a bad story but clearly made on the cheap and overlit with a silly pantomine horse for the monster but it does rattle along nicely.
The Awakening is next and on their third attempt the production team have perfected the 45 minute story. This is one I never tire of, good characters who are well acted and a good monster all taking place in a good setting. One of the people I follow on twitter commented that they wish we’d had a few 45 min stories in the next season and I do agree
Frontios comes next and is another favourite of mine. The last remnants of humanity struggling against magnetic insects. Everyone making it seems to be pulling in the same direction to make the best story they can.
Resurrection of the Daleks is the season equivalent of a summer blockbuster, its mindless enjoyable fun and The Daleks appear more menacing than in Destiny and Davros is much more in line with his orginal apperance. This also sees Tegan depart after three years and I did warm to her after finding her quite unbearable for the first year. It’s also refreshing to see a companion leave because she can’t stand the violence anymore.
Planet of Fire sees everyone remember Kamelion’s been in a cupboard for the season (god knows how he coped in Frontios! ) and pick Peri up while revealing Turlough’s origin and killing The Master off, it’s a wonder they get a halfway decent story out of it. I have to say I think The Master looks better in a suit and is actually menacing in this story. Shame he’s reduced to a comic foil for the next few apperances.
The Fifth Doctor bows out with Caves of Androzani, one of the best stories the show has done. Robert Holmes writes a cracking script full of great characters thrust into a awful situation and very appropriately Peter’s Doctor sacrifices his life for one friend he barely knows with his last thought being of the one friend he couldn’t save.
Peter’s Doctor was a breath of fresh air and the perfect contrast to Tom’s domineering incarnation. Just a pity his era has been so brief.
The 20th anniversary was a great time to be a fan. I was 8 at the time and was very excited for it. I read and reread the Radio Times so much it was already falling apart by the end of November!
By this time my parents had split so we often spent weekends with my Dad who lived on the opposite side of Bristol, this particular Friday the special aired I’d made him ensure we got back to his house by the time it started which we just about did.
I sat enthralled for 90 minutes loving seeing the old doctors and feeling the Hartnell impression was good (I’d only seen the first story at this time to compare), it was great seeing all the old monsters and companions.
As it finished my Dad said he had a surprise for me and produced the target novelisation (it had been mistakenly released early), he hadn’t wanted to give it before incase I read it. Needless to say as we didn’t have a video then I think I read the book twice over that weekend!
I’ve just rewatched the story as part of my Whoathon and still love it. It’s the perfect anniversary story, a simple plot and everyone gets something to do and it feels like a Dr Who Greatest Hits which is completely appropriate. Just a complete joy to watch.
Season 20 is the season where continuity starts to take over, something I think is a mistake to do especially if it is just there for the sake of it.
Arc of Infinity is up first and we get a intriguing first episode setting up the plot well and it’s nice to be Tegan free, Nyssa may be a little bland but she works well with Davison’s Doctor. Having said that Tegan is a better character this season. The story rattles along but is a bit forgettable.
Snakedance is second and this is a great story full of great well written characters acted well. The whole society is sketched out well, such a shame the writer never contributed again.
Mawdryn Undead sees the return of The Black Guardian complete with stupid bird stuck to his head! The story is another average one saved by the performances and the nostalgia of seeing The Brigadier again. The idea of a companion wanting to kill The Doctor is a good one though and Turlough is a improvement on Adric.
Terminus is next and it’s a story I like (not a popular opinion I know) , theres a good script with interesting ideas though they should’ve dirtied The Garm up so he didn’t look so cuddly! Nyssa’s departure is handled well and we get to see some emotion between her and The Doctor making them seem like real characters for once. especially as in all likelihood she won’t live very long after.
Enlightenment is a real highlight, it looks great still and again has a good set of actors that are playing good characters. Fiona Cumming is a underrated director, Her skills are matched to the right scripts which doesn’t always happen during the show.
The King’s Demons finishes the season prematurely (because of strikes) and is a nice little story though again we have The Master in a stupid disguise for no good fictional reason. Dr Who always do period stories well and like other stories this season the actors are doing good stuff with what they are given.
Season 16 is the Key to Time season and also introduces Romana. It’s a much watched season.
Ribos Operation kicks things off and the first scene with The White Guardian does so with style leading into meeting Romana. There’s a instant chemistry between her and The Doctor and their scenes are always riveting. Ribos is full of great characters as to be expected from Robert Holmes.
The Pirate Planet follows and is the first script from Douglas Adams and is one of my favourites. The Captain is a wonderfully OTT character and the story is so imaginative.
The Stones of Blood starts off as a throwback to the Hinchcliffe era with black magic cults and killer stones. Another great story and Professor Rumford is a wonderful character who I’d have loved to see carry on in the show. Her and Tom are great together, there’s not many who can upstage Tom!
The Androids of Tara is the Prisoner of Zenda homage and is another cracking story full of good performances and nice moments. The location footage looks splendid too, a nice change from quarry pits.
Power of Kroll is filling the cheap slot and unfortunately it shows in places. The green makeup on the aliens makes them look distinctive but sadly there’s not much character to them. It’s a by the numbers Dr Who story that is just average.
The Armageddon Factor finishes the season off and unfortunately theres a good four parter stretched over six episodes. The performances are strong and the story is enjoyable, The Shadow is suitably menacing and the stakes feel high. Making the key segment a person is a good idea too.
I also must add here that the dvd commentaries with Tom and Mary Tamm are just wonderful fun to listen to.
Horror of Fang Rock is another of my favourites. Terrance Dicks writes a cracking story and we get to see a Rutan. A story which only The Doctor and Leela make it out of alive. The characters are sketched out well to make us sympathise or hate them and the studio bound setting is suitably claustrophobic.
Invisible Enemy is next and we get the debut of K9, another thing that polarises fandom. Personally I don’t mind it though I agree with some that it removes the need for The Doctor to think his way out of trouble sometimes. The production looks notably cheaper than what we’ve been used to over the previous three seasons but there’s some good stuff but the less said about the giant prawn the better!
Image of the Fendahl takes us back to Hinchcliffe Who and is a wonderful and atmospheric story full of good beliveable characters who you actually believe are real and a end of the world type menace that feels genuinely threataning.
The Sunmakers is another Robert Holmes script and it’s a belter full of humour and wit. The roof scenes were filmed in my neck of the woods too, my aunt actually had worked there, although the building is long gone.
Underworld is one of those stories that has a great first episode followed by some not so great episodes. The completely cso scenes were a brave attempt by the production team and would’ve been more forgiveable on a better story.
Invasion of Time rounds things off with a return to Gallifrey and The Doctor apparently turned evil which Tom makes seem totally beliveable (not all the Doctor’s could pull this off) and just when we think its over after the tin foil monsters are defeated look who arrives- cockney Sontarans! Again this is a fun story and it rattles along.