Friday, January 22, 2010

5Y1 - Kinda 1

From the open moments of Kinda, you can immediately tell that about the only person happy with a four-person TARDIS crew is producer John Nathan-Turner. Writer Terence Dudley chose to deal with the overcrowded TARDIS by sticking Tegan with The Doctor for most of her scenes before locking her up in the TARDIS for the second half of his story Four To Doomsday. In Kinda, Christopher Bailey (or was it Kate Bush?) is more blatant with his solution, as Nyssa, who mysteriously fainted at the end of the previous week's adventure, is prescribed 48 hours of deep sleep in the TARDIS while the remaining three explore Deva Loka.

The writing out of Nyssa is almost an unintentional throwback to the early days of the programme when one of the regulars was written out of two episodes so that the actor portraying him or her could take a well deserved holiday. While the move is not at all subtle in reducing the number of characters to write for, the resulting effect is agreeable. The remaining three regulars get a greater chunk of the action, and all three grasp the opportunity with both hands.

The scenes set in the strange world of Tegan's dreaming mind are stunning. It doesn't hurt that those scenes are a collective dramatic and surreal tour de force, directed to near perfection by Peter Grimwade. When a dreaming Tegan walks past the caravan to witness the old couple playing chess, Grimwade uses the exact same camera move as he did in the opening scene of the episode where Tegan walks past the TARDIS to see Adric and Nyssa playing chess themselves. The way the old couple is smug and dismissive towards Tegan is a reflection of how the young Australian feels she is treated by her two younger alien friends.

By this logic, the domineering and manipulative Dukkha (a brilliant sneering performance by Jeffrey Stewart) can only be Tegan's subconscious impression of The Doctor. If so, does Tegan really see The Doctor as someone who bullies her into his way of thinking? Dukkha's refusal to release Tegan from her dream can be seen as The Doctor's inability to return Tegan home, a running theme during Tegan's early stories. Whether or not this was the original intention, Kinda is a story which can be seen and interpreted on many levels without affecting the outcome of the story as a whole. Brilliant start to the story.


chris burgess said...

Pish posh, we all know Sarah Sutton was contracted for a short season and had to be written out because of that...

Steven said...

She was contracted for a short season because she was written out of Kinda, you see.

Ooh! I almost sounded like Terrance Dicks there, you see.

Brackers said...

He's right, y'know.

"Later in the autumn, however, it was decided to retain Nyssa as a regular character as well. This presented a greater difficulty for Bailey: there was no room for a third companion in his plot, and he and Bidmead were concerned that the wholesale changes necessitated by her inclusion would damage the storyline. Consequently, it was agreed that Nyssa should appear only at the start and end of the serial, but would be written out of the main action."

Ha! Out-pedanted.

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