Monday, January 4, 2010
Meglos is the second story broadcast in Season 18, but it seems clear that the script by John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch had initially been prepared in the same vein as Season 16 or 17, and mercilessly hacked and refined by script editor Christopher Hamilton Bidmead to fit in with his vision for Tom Baker's final season. Anything that didn't enhance the story was gone, to be replaced by nothing.
The result is, like The Leisure Hive before it, a very lean story with only the essential scenes left in. Apart from the standard twenty-four and a half minute length for Episode One, the remaining installments are all barely 21 minutes long at most, with Episode Four clocking in at an infinitesimal 19:33, a duration that is only matched by The Mind Robber, Part Five as the shortest in Doctor Who history.
Another hallmark of Season 18, in addition to its tight editing, is the desire by John Nathan-Turner to return to the story links that were seen in the early days of the programme, where each story flowed into the next. Thus far in Season 18, K-9 was damaged in The Leisure Hive, then was seen being repaired in the opening shots of Meglos. Episode Four of Meglos ends with a sudden call from Gallifrey to The Doctor, which signposts where the TARDIS will be off to in the next adventure. It actually serves as a refreshing reboot of the series, taking it back to its core values at a time when the programme was in desperate need of some sense of direction.
Posted by Steven at 3:29 PM