BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

24 September 2014

BBC Homepage

Entertainment Cult

Contact Us

The Two Doctors

Production Code: 6W

First Transmitted

1 - 16/02/1985 17:20

2 - 23/02/1985 17:20

3 - 02/03/1985 17:20

Plot

The second Doctor and Jamie are sent by the Time Lords to space station Camera in order to put a stop to unauthorised time travel experiments being carried out there under the auspices of the head of projects, Dastari.

Dastari has been biologically augmenting Androgums, a race of voracious gourmands, including the chatelaine Chessene who has secretly allied herself with Group Marshal Stike of the Ninth Sontaran Battle Group. The Sontarans raid the station, killing almost all aboard. They capture the second Doctor and take him to Earth, imprisoning him in a hacienda near the Spanish city of Seville. There Dastari, also in league with the Sontarans, plans to dissect him in order to find the Rassilon Imprimature - the symbiotic nuclei within a Time Lord's genes that are the key to time travel.

The sixth Doctor and Peri rescue Jamie from the station and then follow the trail to Spain. The second Doctor is imprinted by Dastari with genes taken from Shockeye, the space station's Androgum chef, but the sixth Doctor rescues him and kills Shockeye.

Chessene destroys the Sontarans and, reverting to base instincts, kills Dastari. She herself then dies through molecular disintegration when she attempts to time travel without the Imprimature.

Episode Endings

The sixth Doctor and Peri make their way through the infrastructure of the seemingly deserted space station. The Doctor attempts to disarm the station's computer but receives a defensive blast of vorum gas in the face and collapses unconscious just as Peri is attacked by a fierce humanoid creature.

Peri runs from the hacienda chased by Shockeye. She trips and falls, and Shockeye quickly looms over her, muttering with delight.

The sixth Doctor and Peri head off to their TARDIS. Peri hesitantly enquires if they are going fishing again and the Doctor tells her that they are not: from now on, it is a vegetarian diet for both of them.

Roots

References to The Barber of Seville and Hamlet.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Oliver Wendell Holmes.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (cannibalism and the chase scene).

V and Time Bandits (rat eating).

The Island of Dr Moreau.

Waiting for Godot (Shockeye and the crude second Doctor).

Dialogue Triumphs

Sixth Doctor : "What's the use of a good quotation if you can't change it?"

Shockeye : ""The gratification of pleasure is the sole motive of action." Is that not our law?"

Chessene : "I still accept it, but there are pleasures other than the purely sensual."

Shockeye : "For you, perhaps. Fortunately, I have not been augmented."

Chessene : "Take care. Your purity could easily become insufferable."

Peri : "What's that awful smell?"

Sixth Doctor : "Mainly decaying food. And corpses."

Peri : "Corpses?"

Sixth Doctor : "That is the smell of death, Peri. Ancient must, heavy in the air. Fruit-soft flesh peeling from white bones. The unholy, unburiable smell of armageddon. Nothing quite so evocative as one's sense of smell, is there?"

Peri : "I feel sick!"

Stike : "It is not easy being commander. The loneliness of supreme responsibility..."

The Doctor : "Eternal blackness. No more sunsets. No more Gumblejacks. Never more a butterfly."

Double Entendre

Jamie : "Look at the size of that thing, Doctor."

The Doctor : "Yes, Jamie, that is a big one."

Shockeye : [Describes Peri] "A fine, fleshy beast"

"I've been for a scout round."

Continuity

The Doctor attended the inauguration of space station Camera before 'falling from favour'. Somehow Dastari has heard that the Doctor is no longer flavour of the month on Gallifrey [perhaps he hails from Minyos (Underworld) or Dronid (Shada)].

The sixth Doctor misquotes Dr.Johnson and attributes it to Rassilon. His address book features Archimedes, Brunel, Columbus, Dante and Da Vinci (see City of Death). He is able to close his respiratory passages when he detects the poisonous gas (see Pyramids of Mars), and can telepathically contact his previous incarnation on the 'astral plane'.

Ripples in time can be measured on the Bocca Scale (Kartz and Reimer's experimentation measured 0.4) The Doctor talks of the holistic fabric of time, which might have been punctured by the Kartz Reimer experiments. The space station was created by various Third Zone governments. [It is stated that humans have not yet reached the Third Zone, and it can be surmised that all the events take place in, say, the 1980s.]

The Sontarans seen here are taller than humans (see The Sontaran Experiment). Group Marshal Stike leads the 9th Sontaran Battle Group, and he and Varl use large rifles in addition to their usual wand-like guns. Sontarans have green blood, and are vulnerable to coronic acid.

The Doctor states that much of what he said about time travel was for Stike's benefit and consequently not true. Therefore the following 'statements' should be taken with a pinch of salt: he says that the biological make up of Time Lords features symbiotic nuclei, affording protection from molecular break up [and the Blinovitch limitation effect?] and symbiotic control of the TARDIS. This protection is extended to other travellers in the TARDIS.

[The implication is that if a Time Lord is not in the TARDIS then time travel (even if the controls could be understood) is deadly.] Time travel is impossible without some form of molecular stabilization system: Kartz Reimer used a briode nebuliser, into which the Doctor copies the 'Rassilon imprimature', turning the module into a fully functioning time machine.

When the Doctor is stabbed by Shockeye his blood seems very dark.

Gumblejacks are apparently very tasty fish. The Doctor becomes a vegetarian. Shockeye calls humans Tellurians. His money (narg notes) is redeemable on any of the Nine Planets. This is the only Doctor Who story to mention Shepton Mallet.

QV

Season 6(b)

Sontarans and Rutans

Language

Location

Space station Camera.

Seville and the surrounding countryside [1980s].

Links

Untelevised

The Doctor has been to Seville before.

Trivia

The opening moments of the first episode, featuring the second Doctor and Jamie in the TARDIS, are in black and white - recalling the stories of the second Doctor's own era.

Jacqueline Pearce, better known as the evil Servalan in the BBC science fiction series Blake's 7, appears here as Chessene.

Goofs

The Androgums speak English (as Dona Arana recognizes).

Despite being a recluse, she is able to supply Shockeye with a current list of Seville restaurants.

Cast & Crew

Cast

The Doctor - Colin Baker

The Doctor - Patrick Troughton

Jamie - Frazer Hines

Peri - Nicola Bryant

Anita - Carmen Gomez

Chessene - Jacqueline Pearce

Dastari - Laurence Payne

Do-a Arana - Aimee Delamain

Oscar - James Saxon

Shockeye - John Stratton

Stike - Clinton Greyn

Technician - Nicholas Fawcett

Varl - Tim Raynham

Crew

Director - Peter Moffatt

Assistant Floor Manager - Ilsa Rowe

Costumes - Jan Wright

Designer - Tony Burrough

Film Cameraman - John Walker

Film Editor - Mike Rowbotham

Incidental Music - Peter Howell

Make-Up - Catherine Davies

Producer - John Nathan-Turner

Production Assistant - Patricia O'Leary

Production Associate - Sue Anstruther

Script Editor - Eric Saward

Special Sounds - Dick Mills

Studio Lighting - Don Babbage

Studio Sound - Keith Bowden

Title Music - Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, arranged by Peter Howell

Visual Effects - Steven Drewett

Writer - Robert Holmes

Bottom Line - from The Discontinuity Guide

'I don't know much about art, but I know what I like.' An anti-meat message ('From now on, it's a healthy vegetarian diet for both of us') via the Doctor Who equivalent of a Peter Greenaway film seems about as sound as a sexually explicit film trying to criticise pornography. The tone of the whole thing is wrong, most notably in the meaningless murder of Oscar.

The location filming is excellent, and below the tasteless surface it's actually a passable runaround. But Troughton deserved a better closing bow ('Good night, sweet prince'), which just goes to show that even Robert Holmes slipped up every now and again.

Analysis - from Doctor Who, the Television Companion

The Two Doctors is a story that promises an awful lot but ultimately fails to deliver on just about every major count. The biggest problem, as in Resurrection of the Daleks and Attack of the Cybermen before it, is an over-reliance on the series' established mythology. The 'shopping list' of elements that the production team prevailed upon writer Robert Holmes to incorporate on this occasion included not only the second Doctor (as Patrick Troughton had enjoyed himself so much making The Five Doctors and John Nathan-Turner was keen to have another multiple Doctor story) but also his companion Jamie and, to provide the opposition, the Sontarans (which, although they were Holmes's own creations, he would have preferred not to use). On top of all this they also asked him to set part of the action in a foreign location (originally New Orleans in the USA and then, when this was discovered to be too expensive, Seville in Spain).

Not surprisingly, the resultant story is something of a mess. D Adams gave a fairly typical reaction to it in TARDIS Volume 10 Number 2, dated June 1985: 'This for me was the disappointment of the season... [It] was ludicrous, with a weak plot... The only element of the story that was fairly enjoyable was John Stratton's Shockeye. Patrick Troughton and Frazer Hines were wasted in a story that I think should never have been screened.'

Nigel G Hilburd, writing in the same magazine, agreed: 'Although it could be entertaining in parts, the whole was disappointing. It was obviously meant to be a humorous story, but where was the storyline?' John Connors, reviewing the story in MLG Megazine No. 12, dated March/April 1985, put it rather more bluntly: 'Quite the worst excuse for an adventure we've had since, oh, about Time-Flight I think, full of boredom, padding, more boredom and a little bit more padding.'

The most scathing criticism, however, came from Antony Howe, writing in A Voyage Through 25 Years of Doctor Who, dated December 1988: 'Chasings up and down corridors is now usual, but why waste money going to Seville just to run up and down alleyways? There is really stunning scenery in Spain, but we never saw it. The idea of the two Doctors meeting was unbelievable - it was absurd that the sixth Doctor had no memory of what had happened, and how could he possibly be affected by the Androgum conversion of the second Doctor? And why did the Sontarans need to learn about time travel when they could safely do that hundreds of years before? Vastly worse was the vicious nature of the story. The gore and violence... were [completely] avoidable [and] added nothing that could not have been cut by a ten minute rewrite. Shockeye did not have to kill and eat a blind helpless old woman, or... eat a rat; Chessene did not need to lap up blood; Oscar did not need to be stabbed to death in the stomach; the Sontarans did not need to be burnt with acid, mutilated and blown up - all lovingly shown on screen! Worst of all was the murder of Shockeye... This was the death of Doctor Who.'

Justin Richards, writing in DWB No. 120, dated December 1993, thought that the presentation of the Sontarans was a factor in the story's favour: 'Robert Holmes' love of the Sontarans is obvious - Stike and Varl not only get some of the best lines, they are better defined and better acted than the haughty but emotionless Chessene, the manic Shockeye, or Dastari - who seems bored with the entire thing right from the start. Had the Sontarans been the main villains - or just survived the longest - this would have helped the final episode immeasurably.' Andrew Stirling-Brown, another reviewer in TARDIS Volume 10 Number 2, felt the opposite: 'My main grouch lay in the treatment of the monsters. The Sontarans got a raw deal, I thought; comic Dad's Army/It Ain't Half Hot Mum-style soldiers, quite unnecessary to the plot. Just convenient shock troops and chauffeurs for Dastari and the Androgums. In fact any monster would have done, they just happened to suit John Nathan-Turner's current "old comeback" policy.'

One of the problems with the Sontarans in this story is that their costumes are not as effective as in the past; the loose-fitting collars have a tendency to flap about and completely spoil the illusion that the creatures have thick necks. Peter Moffatt's undramatic long-shot revelation of the creatures is also an extraordinarily poor piece of direction that doesn't exactly help them to make an impact.

By far the most interesting of the guest characters is Shockeye, marvellously played by John Stratton. His fawning manner and obsession with food are always entertaining, and the scenes of him with an Androgum-infected second Doctor in Part Three are very amusing - even though they again have little to do with the plot. In fact, the plot changes mid-way through the story when Chessene - played by Jacqueline Pearce in a manner that suggests she still thinks she is playing Servalan in Blake's 7 - abruptly decides that she no longer wants the second Doctor's symbiotic nuclei removed (which was the whole point of kidnapping a Time Lord in the first place) but, bizarrely, wants him changed into an Androgum instead.

The Two Doctors is, unfortunately, fatally misconceived: another attempt to exploit Doctor Who's past glories without offering anything new.

< The Mark of the RaniSixth DoctorTimelash >

This episode guide is made up of the text of The Discontinuity Guide by Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping, and Doctor Who: The Television Companion by David J. Howe and Stephen James Walker.

The Discontinuity Guide © Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping 1995.
Doctor Who: The Television Companion © David J Howe and Stephen James Walker 1998, 2003.



About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy