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Doctor Who story number 15
This is probably the most boring of all the Doctor Who stories - certainly it is so boring that it scared me away from making the writeup on it for a few months. This isn't just my opinion either, the BBC audience research shows that the average viewer was more interested in the weird stuff at the start than the generic plot.
The reason this one is boring is because they cut back the spending on this story because there had been two expensive stories already in this season, and there was another costly one coming up. The BBC site says otherwise, but having seen it and the other stories that reputedly ate the budget I'll go with the cost cutting explanation. Another problem is that there was supposedly going to be more humour in it, but when that was edited out the story got even more bland. Certainly the lack of interesting sets would have been covered up by the presence of some good lines.
The basic story is very similar to The Daleks - The heroes land on a planet where there's an evil alien race in a big citylike structure and help the peaceful locals defeat them - even to the point of sneaking in the back way. The really great part is the first episode, where we get some interesting ideas thrown at us. Unfortunately they don't work in enough dramatic tension based off the initial premise, and so the opportunity for a well made, thought provoking story is lost.
This story has 4 episodes with individual titles:
- The Space Museum
- The Dimensions of Time
- The Search
- the Final Phase
the TARDIS materialises on the planet Xeros, in the year 2493, after yet another machinery failure. The travellers leave and discover they have jumped across a "time track", or to put it simply, they are seeing the future not as it will be, but as it possibly may happen. The real kicker is that after wandering into a vast museum containing all kinds of alien artifacts on display (including an empty Dalek casing) they find....
After returning to the TARDIS and fiddling with the controls they come back into the normal space-time continuum, and must decide what to do. The museum has been built here by the conquoring Moroks, to display all their victories in the creation of their vast empire (one of the memorable parts of the story is one of the Moroks complaining about being stuck on a backwater planet visited only by school field trips). The peaceful Xerons want to rebel against the evil museum curators (no, really), and the time travellers have to face the fact that aiding them may result in their eventual capture and stuffing - or will it be leaving and continuing their travels which gets them put on display?
So they save the day. No, I can't remember how either, it's just not that exciting. The Doctor gets hooked up to yet another brain-syphon interrogation device, but manages to fool it and project humourous images of himself on the screen, Vicki reprograms something so the Xerons can steal weapons, Ian takes a bunch of Xerons in the back door and that's that.
When the travellers leave they are given the plot device they will need at the start of the next story - a space/time visualizer (far too big to get into the TARDIS doors but they manage somehow), which can be used to watch events in any point in history (but not free cable). We can only assume that the Moroks have not been working out how to use the stuff they have been pillaging from across the galaxy. The final shot is of a Dalek shadow on a wall, letting us all know what was going to happen next week.
Peter Sanders - Sita
Peter Craze - Dako
Richard Shaw - Lobos
Jeremy Bulloch - Tor
Salvin Stewart - Messenger
Peter Diamond - Technician
Ivor Salter - Commander
Billy Cornelius - Guard
Murphy Grumbar - Dalek
Peter Hawkins - Dalek Voice
- The Dalek casing present in the museum serves as a hiding place for the Doctor at one point. It's really only there so we can see how evil and powerful the Moroks are - Wow they beat the DALEKS! Without the Doctor's help!
- Yes, that is Boba Fett playing Tor. How could the Xerons lose with Jeremy Bulloch on their side?
- Glyn Jones also wrote the novelisation of this story, which I read and found much more interesting than the TV story (possibly all the good bits I remember were in there) - sadly out of print, but you might be able to pick up a copy on eBay or amazon.com
Have any arms fallen into Xeron hands? - Supposedly the stupidest line in the series. I bet I can find dumber ones.