Monday, July 27, 2009

YY1 - The Space Pirates 1

I wrote earlier about how, in The Seeds of Death, it took over eight minutes for The Doctor to first appear in the story and how surely, at the time, that must have been a record. There's no debate about the new record, though. By my clock, the TARDIS is seen to materialize 14:52 into Episode One of The Space Pirates, and The Doctor and his friends finally emerge from their ship over fifteen minutes into this installment.

This is, quite frankly, alarming. The entire structure of the plot and most of the main characters are introduced well before the hero of the show arrives on the scene. And even when The Doctor does arrive, he is so far removed from the action that he doesn't even exist in the world of General Hermack, Major Warne, or the pirate Caven. In fact, the only thing shorter than The Doctor's screen time in this episode is Wendy Padbury's skirt. And, as you can see in the picture above, there is nowt wrong with that...

This story was another late addition to the lineup when yet another script fell through (a common theme during the production of Season 6), and it was written by Robert Holmes. Fan commentators over the years have often derided The Space Pirates as a subpar effort from someone who would go on to become the greatest writer in the programme's history, but someone who had yet to find his groove in Doctor Who. After seeing this episode, I couldn't disagree more. This story is the genesis of the prototypical Robert Holmes story. I'll explain this more as the story moves along, though...


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