Tuesday, April 28, 2009
For those of you out there who think that the old black and white Doctor Who episodes are slow and creaky, let me just say this - if you think most Hartnell episodes are guilty of this, Crisis used to be TWO episodes long. Even the powers-that-be at the BBC thought that the action dragged over the final two parts of Planet of Giants to authorize both episodes to be chopped up into a single 26-and-a-half minute episode.
And for the most part and, despite some abrupt cuts, the decision to truncate the last half of this serial works out for the better (although the ramifications of the loss of one broadcast episode would be felt about a year later, and for several years after that for those whose business it is to create accurate Doctor Who episode guides). The episode is almost pacey (but not quite Steven Pacey), and is an entertaining view. Of note, and carrying on the observation I made at the end of The Reign of Terror, The Doctor and his friends could have simply escaped once they were all reunited, as they probably would have done in Season 1. However, even when Barbara is fighting the effects of the insecticide that she has inadvertently been affected by, the gang strives to warn someone, hopefully the police, about the nefarious pesticide scheme that they have stumbled upon. The true time meddlers are born in this episode.
As with the previous episode, the sets for the phone and gas outlet are admirable, as is the sense of scale that is maintained throughout the three parts. By the end of the three episodes, you really do believe that The Doctor and his friends are only one inch high. These episodes have been a triumph for all involved, and it has been a great deal of fun watching them.
And if you think Planet of Giants was ambitious for the series in only its second season, then just wait until the next story...
Posted by Steven at 10:41 PM