Production Code: 7F
1 - 02/11/1987 19:35
2 - 09/11/1987 19:35
3 - 16/11/1987 19:35
A Chimeron queen called Delta, the last surviving member of her race, is being pursued by the evil Gavrok and his Bannermen, intent on a mission of genocide. Delta finds herself on board a space bus of tourists en route to Earth when it is knocked off course by an American satellite and ends up at a Welsh holiday camp in 1959.
The Doctor and Mel, having won a holiday with the tourists, help Delta to evade the rampaging Bannermen long enough to allow her child to hatch from its egg and grow to maturity. She, her daughter and a young man named Billy - who sacrifices his humanity to be with her - then escape to start a new life and ensure the continuation of the Chimeron race.
The Doctor and a young woman named Ray are held at gun point by an alien bounty hunter, Keillor, who has given away Delta's location to the Bannermen in return for a promised reward. The Doctor tells Keillor that he should let Ray go as she is of no use to him. He replies: 'I don't just kill for money. It's also something I enjoy.'
The Doctor confronts Gavrok and warns him that he will be brought to justice for his crimes. He demands the release of Mel and the holiday camp manager Burton, who have been held prisoner by the Bannermen, and starts to leave with them. The Bannermen prime their weapons for firing, and the Doctor worriedly speculates that he may have gone a little too far.
The American secret service agents Hawk and Weismuller are astonished as the TARDIS dematerialises. The mysterious beekeeper Goronwy glances up at the sky and gives a knowing smile and wink.
Hi De Hi!
Echo and the Bunnymen.
Akira Kurosawa's films (Bannermen).
50s nostalgia films (American Graffiti, Peggy Sue Got Married, Back to the Future).
Steve Parkhouse's Doctor Who strips.
Herod Murray reads The Eagle.
The Doctor : "Many a slap 'twixt a cup and a lap."
The Doctor : "Love has never been known for its rationality."
Burton : "You are not the Happy Hearts Holiday Club from Bolton, but instead are spacemen in fear of an attack from some other spacemen?"
Goronwy is, the tone of this script suggests, just a wonderful and charming old man, open to the wonders of the universe. [However, he and the Doctor have enough instant rapport for the Doctor to hand him an alien baby without a second thought, as if the two of them are in the same business. Goronwy gives the Doctor a very secretive wink: perhaps he is a Time Lord.]
The Doctor's question mark umbrella makes its first appearance. There exists an authority who, if hearing about it, would punish the Bannermen for their genocide of the Chimerons [possibly the Time Lords].
The Navarinos are squat, wrinkly purple creatures who can shapechange and time travel. They have a high metabolic rate, and seem to have a lot in common with Time Lords. [Perhaps the Navarinos are one of the few races permitted to travel in time, since they're so peaceful. The toll money therefore goes to Gallifrey.] Chimeron males and infants are green, their females humanoid. They've been nearly wiped out by the Bannermen in some undisclosed conflict.
The Shangri La holiday camp, near Llandrudnod Wells, 1959.
A toll point in the future [obviously near Navaro, and probably put on one of the Navarinos' main routes to tax their expeditions].
Mel's very scared of the Bannermen without being told who they are [She's met them before?].
Don Henderson, well known for his role as George Bulman in The XYY Man and its spin offs, and latterly for his co-starring role as Frank Kane in the BBC drama The Paradise Club, appears here as Gavrok.
There are guest appearances for a number of popular actors better known for their comedy and variety work, including Ken Dodd, Hugh Lloyd, Stubby Kaye and Richard Davies.
The scenes set in the Shangri-La holiday camp were filmed at Butlins in Barry Island, South Wales.
The Doctor's distinctive question-mark handle umbrella makes its first appearance.
Sylvester McCoy can be seen wearing his glasses - normally removed before recording - in some long shots of him riding a motor bike.
Keillor, the alien bounty hunter, is never referred to by name in the story's dialogue; his name is given only in the closing credits.
The rubber bodies on the ground during the initial battle.
The unsatisfying bus explosion.
The Doctor says the explosion of the sonic cone will destroy everyone, so why doesn't it?
Why isn't Billy poisoned by the alien food? (Why does it, instead, turn him into a Chimeron?)
Ray's bow makes her look like a Mouseketeer.
Mel's pyjamas are rather woeful.
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - Sylvester McCoy
Melanie - Bonnie Langford
Adlon - Leslie Meadows
Arrex - Richard Mitchley
Billy - David Kinder
Bollitt - Anita Graham
Burton - Richard Davies
Callon - Clive Condon
Chima - Tim Scott
Chimeron Princess - Laura Collins
Chimeron Princess - Carley Joseph
Delta - Belinda Mayne
Gavrok - Don Henderson
Goronwy - Hugh Lloyd
Hawk - Morgan Deare
Keillor - Brian Hibbard
Murray - Johnny Dennis
Ray - Sara Griffiths
The Lorells - Robin Aspland
The Lorells - Keff McCulloch
The Lorells - Justin Myers
The Lorells - Ralph Salmins
Tollmaster - Ken Dodd
Vinny - Martyn Geraint
Vocalist - Tracey Wilson The vocalists are seen on screen only in Part One; they are heard in Parts Two and Three in the story's incidental music.
Vocalist - Jodie Wilson The vocalists are seen on screen only in Part One; they are heard in Parts Two and Three in the story's incidental music.
Weismuller - Stubby Kaye
Young Chimeron - Jessica McGough
Young Chimeron - Amy Osborn
Director - Chris Clough
Assistant Floor Manager - Christopher Sandeman
Assistant Floor Manager - Kim Wilcocks
Costumes - Richard Croft
Designer - John Asbridge
Film Cameraman - William Dudman
Incidental Music - Keff McCulloch
Make-Up - Gillian Thomas
OB Cameraman - Alastair Mitchell
OB Cameraman - Chas Snare
Producer - John Nathan-Turner
Production Assistant - Rosemary Parsons
Production Associate - Anne Faggetter
Script Editor - Andrew Cartmel
Special Sounds - Dick Mills
Stunt Arranger - Roy Scammell
Title Music - Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, arranged by Keff McCulloch
Visual Effects - Andy McVean
Writer - Malcolm Kohll
Bottom Line - from The Discontinuity Guide
Analysis - from Doctor Who, the Television Companion
Delta and the Bannermen is even more whimsical than the story that immediately preceded it, but in this case the scripts by Malcolm Kohll and the direction by Chris Clough are perfectly in tune with each other and the end result is much more successful. 'Even during the dark days of season twenty-three,' wrote Brian Willis in Muck and Devastation Issue Three, dated December 1987, 'if somebody had told me that the next season (if there ever was such a thing) would feature such luminaries as Ken Dodd, Stubby Kaye and Hugh Lloyd, I would have laughed in that somebody's face. And if that somebody had then gone on to suggest that I would actually enjoy a story featuring the said personalities, I would probably have screamed with mirth. The very idea... Actually, I rather liked Delta and the Bannermen.'
The story has a very 'fifties sci-fi' feel to it, recalling films of the I Married a Monster from Outer Space variety - an impression greatly enhanced by the setting of the main action in that very era and by more specific touches such as the use of period songs both in the performances of the holiday camp group, the Lorells, and in the incidental music score. The light-heartedness of the holiday camp atmosphere contrasts nicely with the grimness of the Bannermen's intentions and their genocidal hatred of the Chimerons.
'The whole thing had the air of a Hi-de-Hi! episode directed by James Cameron...,' continued Willis. '[The] script was not by any means a classic,... it had an air of unashamed absurdity and - dare I say it - silliness that made it, in parts, extremely memorable. The idea of a group of extraterrestrial rock and roll fans on a trip to Disneyland but having to land at Barry Butlins instead because their bus-shaped spaceship has hit a US satellite is one that could have come from Douglas Adams.'
The story boasts a good collection of supporting characters, the most intriguing of which is the beekeeper Goronwy, well played by Hugh Lloyd, who seems so unfazed by all the strange events going on around him that some commentators have been led to suggest that he might actually be an alien, or even perhaps a Time Lord living in 'retirement' on Earth.
The regulars also come over well in this story. Bonnie Langford seems much more comfortable than usual in the familiar holiday camp setting, and Sylvester McCoy is also by this point starting to settle into his role. 'For my money the seventh Doctor really came of age in this story,' wrote Mark Stammers in The Frame No. 5, dated February 1988. 'McCoy was in his element and so was his Doctor, and apart from a couple of duff lines I enjoyed his performance throughout. He was less manic than in the preceding tales; the misquotations were still there, but more in the background, as was the continual hat-doffing which had been so much a part of Paradise Towers.'
Delta and the Bannermen is another step in the right direction for the seventh Doctor and, all in all, a highly enjoyable romp.