Monday, August 10, 2009

ZZ7 - The War Games 7

Just when you think the first six episodes of The War Games have been some of the most gripping examples of 1960s Doctor Who, Philip Madoc turns up as the War Lord in Episode Seven and takes control of the situation - rarely raising his voice, often standing in the background, but always surveying the situation, and always in command.

My favourite scene in this episode occurs when the War Chief and the Security Chief are arguing in the War Room over whose fault it is that the Resistance army have managed to steal the processing machine. In the background, the War Lord is casually moving pieces around on the planning board, seemingly oblivious to the argument in front of him, before he suddenly interjects, assesses equal portions of blame to both Chiefs, then states that he will now handle the situation. Minutes later, both The Doctor and the processing machine are captured, thanks to the War Lord's quick action.

The way that The War Games keeps adding and subtracting heroes and villains (and, after five episodes, adding General Smythe back into the mix) is remarkable. The fact that the main villain of the piece, the War Lord, makes his first appearance more than two-thirds of the way into the story, is testament to that. Terrance Dicks has often said that he is not a fan of this, his own script, written with Malcolm Hulke. After seven episodes, (and having not heard his own comments on it on the (as yet released in North America) DVD box set), I hope his opinions on his work have changed.


Braxietel said...

I just finished watching this episode, three to go. Episode 7 was easily some of the most gripping Doctor Who, nay most gripping television I've ever seen.. and I've seen a lot.

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