When the TARDIS deposits the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe on the
planet Dulkis, they find it threatened by two humanoid aliens,
Dominators, and their robotic servants, the Quarks. The Dominators
intend to turn the whole planet into a radioactive mass, to
provide fuel for their space fleet. They set about enslaving
the natives as a labour force for their scheme, drilling boreholes
towards the planet's core - but the pacifist Dulcians refuse
to retaliate. Can the Doctor and his friends save both the
planet and its people in time...?
a supreme irony that while many great Patrick Troughton adventures,
such as The
Evil of the Daleks and Fury
from the Deep, are wholly or partially missing
from the BBC's film and videotape library, this stinker (which
puts the "dull" in Dulkis and the "bore" in borehole) exists
in its entirety. Nevertheless, BBC Audio has seen fit to release
it on CD, with new linking narration by Wendy Padbury (Zoe).
Oh well, at least we are spared the sight of the Dulcians'
silly pleated frocks (worn by men and women alike), Zoe's
zipper problems, the Dominators' padded shoulders, the patently
unthreatening Quarks and a close-up of Troughton's location
double Chris Jeffries. As restoration maestro Mark Ayres points
out in his interview with Padbury at the end of the second
disc, this serial probably works better as an audio book than
it does on TV.
It's still pretty weak stuff, though. The downside of pacifism
was handled more effectively in The
Daleks - the impotent Dulcians and their endless
debates come across as pathetically as the indolent Lakertyans
in Time and the Rani. Meanwhile, Dominators Rago (Ronald
Allen) and Toba (Kenneth Ives) kick off the Season 6 trend
for bickering baddies, though unfortunately the actors are
unable to liven up the proceedings as well as Kevin Stoney
and Peter Halliday in The
Invasion or even Edward Brayshaw and James
Bree in The War Games. Both species of alien are prone
to cringe-making expository dialogue, telling their colleagues
things they already know but the audience does not, such as
the fact that Cully (Arthur Cox) is the son of the planet's
leader (Walter Fitzgerald) and that the Quarks' power levels
are low - Rago repeats the latter fact a great number of times.
The medium also highlights some audio cost-cutting. In lieu
of incidental music, we hear just a few punctuating sounds
for the "dramatic" moments, provided by Brian Hodgson of the
BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Hodgson also recycles some of his
earlier sound effects, such as the Zarbi's twitters from The
Web Planet, which here accompany the Quarks'
Speaking of sound, the Doctor's original sonic screwdriver
seems to be able to do something that the newest model cannot.
Here he is able to cut through concrete, something he failed
to achieve in The
And talking of the Quarks, they went on to enjoy a successful
career as the Doctor's recurring foes in several TV Comic
strips - though curiously without the Dominators in charge
of them. It's possible that the robots are a race conquered
by, rather than built by, the Dominators, and that their TV
Comic exploits take place before the timeframe of this
serial. Alternatively, the Quarks could have achieved autonomy
after this story. Given that the Dominators seem incapable
of tackling any adversary without the aid of the robots to
do their fighting for them, the latter interpretation seems
the most likely - I can easily envisage the Quarks rising
up, Genesis of the Daleks-style, to defy their masters.
Despite its many flaws, The
has its moments, especially where the regular cast are concerned.
The Doctor's ploy to act like an imbecile in order to fool
the invaders provides some of the serial's best moments, including
the following classic line: "An unintelligent enemy is far
less dangerous than an intelligent one, Jamie. Just act stupid.
Do you think you can manage that?"
In the interview at the end of this double CD, Padbury discusses
her recollections of making the serial - which are few, apart
from not enjoying working for the rude and inflexible director,
Morris Barry - and Doctor Who in general.
Hardly likely to dominate your attention or anyone's list
of favourite stories, this release is for completists only.