Friday, March 1, 2013

7F2 - Delta and the Bannermen 2

Delta and the Bannermen was the first story to ever be written and produced as a three-part story. Planet of Giants was edited down to three parts after the last two installments were deemed to be lacking in pace to sustain the story for 50-odd minutes, and the three installments of The Two Doctors were 45-minutes long. Delta is devoid of the dreaded Part Three lull which usually manifests in a series of pointless chases, people getting incarcerated, and a few characters getting killed off before the big finale in the last episode.

Oh, wait. So, everyone is chasing after everyone else in this episode, either by motorbike, by foot, or by space ship, and an entire bus load of happy-go-lucky space tourists are killed in an explosion, but apart from that...

After all the fun and dancing that took place in Part One, there's a lot of nastiness that happens once Gavrok makes his presence known. He leads his Bannermen soldiers around, leaving dead toll booth agents and destroyed tents in his wake, while viciously devouring raw meat on the balcony. Given his predilection for exerting his excessive will on others, it's surprising that he lets The Doctor walk off with the imprisoned Mel and Burton at the end of this episode, let alone observe the white flag of truce under which The Doctor arrives.

It's somewhat unfortunate that The Doctor is reunited with Mel at all as he and Ray have formed a perfectly capable Doctor-potential companion team in this episode. Apart from the differences in character and accent, Ray and eventual companion Ace share a love of motorbikes and fixing (or, in the case of Ace, destroying) things, each with a full set of tools designed for their respective purpose on their person at all times. It's clear to see that the next companion would have started from similar beginnings, but where Ray would have gone after this would have been interesting to see. Would Ray have become the focal point of most of the stories in Season 26? Would Sara Griffiths' faux-Welsh have started to grate by then? Would her cute-as-a-button looks have grown tiresome? There are so many unanswered questions with Ray, but there is a series of alternate universe Big Finish audios waiting to be written about a Seventh Doctor-Ray pairing.


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