Now back in the day, this was right up there with seasons 7, 13 and 14, the Time Bee's vortexian knees innit? Over time this has morphed into a charge of uber-generic 'base under siege', as exemplified by 'Tenth Planet' and 'Moonbase' before it. Sooo...'Tomb of the Cybermen''Get down and quack like a funky metal man'
C'mon now time boyz'n'girls, we all know the drill of deep sourcausm, nary ye mind the clunking racism on show- 'The Cybermen break out of their tombs and then they go back in again.' Yerse...But as a tomb being broken into it admittedly doesn't quite fit the basic accusation. Once the poster boy for lost magic it truly is pure hokum and a major, major example of the fallen from grace however the olde guard may try to square it.Highs
Episodes 1 and 2.
The Doctor's episode 3 scene with Victoria.
The Doctor and Jamie inadvertently holding hands.
Cyril Shaps as Viner.
CAPTAIN HOPPER'S HAIR!!! (Timeless.)
Some of the tomb design, baco-foil has never been utilised so niftily.
Odd bits of Morris Barry's direction.
The location stuff.
Clive Merrison, despite the accent!Lows
Episodes 3 and 4
Portrayal of Toberman, Kaftan and Klieg (Writing of, not especially egregious performance wise.)
The Cyber-Controller aloft. Dear oh blimey.
Other bits of the design- clunky kindergarten wooden-top control panel anybody?
The great majority of Barry's direction unfortunately...
The Cyber-bloody-mats. So not 'vampiric and terrifying' Jeremy Bentham. Fuzzy felt teeth really ain't doing it for me.Verdict:
Definitely guilty but not as charged, I think we've arrived at a true awkwardly fascinating guilty pleasure if you can ignore the sloppy racism*, direction and some occasionally slipshod design...'The Abominable Snowmen''Yes, you've unearthed the Yeti, now find episodes 1 and 3-6!'**
The weird and perpetually unknown due to only one extant episode. Perchance underrated...It's a monastery under siege from a disembodied, out of time'n'place alien presence so is a kind of awkward fit for the standard accusation. Base under siege with esoteric frills vicar?Highs
Wolfe Morris's Padmasambhava.
The setting, both location work and monastery sets.
David Spenser's Thonmi is memorably personable.
A very well oiled TARDIS team, Deborah Watling especially so this time out.Lows
Very few to speak of for meself.
Absence of score perchance?
But despite astonishing direction from Douglas Camfield in 'Web' I think this may just pip it overall if the whole thing turns up.Verdict:
A cautious Not Guilty. Rather lovely in a weirdly outta' time and place way actually...'The Ice Warriors''Ooh, I've got a real craving for Arctic Roll, wonder if the Food Machine's up to it?'
The consensus of late seems to be workmanlike/damned with faint praise. H'mm...It's a scientific base under siege from advancing glaciers. Certainly doesn't fit the 'bad monsters coming to get the good folk' charge for my money, we're light years away from yer bog standard 'White Hat vs Black Hat' shtick. Way subtler characterisation on show than that, I reckon this one has very undeservedly had the boot put in of late...
Derek Martinus's direction.
Peter Barkworth's Leader Clent.
The unusual setting.
The Ice Warrior's sonic gun effect.
Bernard Bresslaw's Varga.
Few to speak of again for meself reverend.
Some occasionally obvious polystyrene snow but c'mon... Verdict:
Definitely Not Guilty. Hold your dodgy perspex headgear high Brittanicus Base.'The Enemy of the World''Yes, have me arrested immediately!'
The Joker. Really rather astonishing. Plus there is no base under siege...We get a truly delusional underground bunker but...
Patrick Troughton- WOW
Milton Johns as the truly loathsome Benik. Turn, sir, turn!
Episode 1, especially the first half- astonishing.
Episode 6 is a blummin' good 'un too, abrupt cliffhanger'n'all...
David Whitaker- respect sir!Lows:
A few clumsy/slow action sequences.
The small scale 'ubiquitous wallpaper' sets.
A resounding Not Guilty.'The Web of Fear''Where's the Honey, Mummy?'
Ah...Yeeeesss...The unconquerable. Fandom clears collective throat. Looks at feet. Disembarks at Goodge Street and shuffles off stage left. And yep, it's an old army opps centre in the London Underground besieged by our returning other dimensional presence and it's servitors. So yeah, the charge fits.Highs
Douglas Camfield's direction.
The sets and design work.
Pretty much all the guest cast, truth be told.
Patrick Troughton is absolutely on fire here. Masterful.
The stock score, utilised very effectively, especially in the early episodes.Lows
The face off with the Yeti in episode 4 being shot in daylight but not a biggie.
No, the real biggie is episodes 5 and 6. Strewth oh crikey, despite Trout, Camfield et al doing their damndest they really can't save/disguise the sheer vacuity/inanity of the writing. Dear oh dear. Driver Evans Comedy Playhouse ain't enough to salvage this.How the remaining support cast survive following episode 4's brutal massacre is boggling, beyond there being two episodes to fill and a desperate attempt at misdirection with Sergeant Arnold being the traitor. Gormless.Verdict:
A reluctant Guilty, despite the first two thirds being really rather astonishing.'Fury from the Deep''One continues to attempt to squint the vibe outta' the telesnaps...'
Again, the unkown/atypically typical. Typical. H'mm...We've got a network of rigs and control centre. The latter of which is directly attacked in the last episode. But really this is more spreading, insidious 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' vibes than direct base under siege tropes.
Victoria's departure, the seeding in over the course of the story. Very well done.
The offtimes very domestic/kitchen sink stresses'n'strains of the rig workers.
That TARDIS landing on the sea- oh, tantalising clip!
Yeah, this really is the king of clips stories. They're all suggestive of something very spooky/atmospheric and building very effectively but hard to call really...Lows
Very hard to call again. I suspect it's not the setting as much as a few over-familiar authority figures/stretched deputy's'n'science bods too far as with the next story but...Verdict:
You almost want to throw it out as currently unjudgeable but a way cautious Not Guilty, the whole thing turns up it could go 'Enemy' on us, it might do a 'Web' and flummox a tad.'The Wheel in Space''Yezz, we've kumm aboutt za menaze...U don' havve enuvv menaze...Lett uzz menaze u..feel za frizzon...'
Fifth wheel. Always the poor relation. Always underrated at poll time in me humble. It's a space beacon/station under attack, infiltration first up, finally attempted direct assault. So again I'd say the basic charge doesn't really hold water...Highs
Very good, slow, creeping sense of building menace for my money.
The Cybermen are actually (amazingly) well-utilised for once, a memorably looming/genuinely dangerous presence.
A neat Doctor, Jamie, Zoe vibe is fast coming into focus.
Troughton is excellent, Anne Ridler as Dr Gemma Corwyn also and interacts very neatly with the Troutster.
The crew are a varied, not always likeable bunch and far from one dimensional.
Episode 1 is very atmospheric/a good slow burner.
Erm...Cardboard Cybermen spinning away at story's close anybody?
Jarvis Bennet is really pushing the stressed controller figure a stressed control figure too far, (Hopper, Khrisong, Clent, Benik, the Brig, Robson, Jarvis). Shame as his breakdown's one of the season's more interesting. Although I still think Nicholas Courtney aces that particular trope in 'Web'.
To return to the crew, some of the racial'n'ethnic characterisation and portrayal of...Peter Laird especially (Chang) and James Mellor (Sean Flannigan) take a dishonourable bow. And is Donald Sumpter blacked up as Enrico Casali, difficult to tell in yer black'n'white sometimes but I think he is.Verdict
Overall, on balance, Not Guilty for meself. Underrated and somewhat greater than the sum of its parts.
So overall, to the charge of 'uber repetitive bases under siege' I'd say absolutely not guilty and the boring/prosaic truth of it is that it likely is the strongest/most consistent of the Troughton seasons. If his most Pertwee in a 'very solid, rarely stunning' way which is kinda' ironic. H'mm...If anything's overdone it's the paranoia'n'psycholgical stress/Command figure crack up. But no, Season 5, you get a pretty respectable pass from meself. Wibble.
*Yes, let's (not) have some focused racism we can really put the boot into! (I mean, by Dask's rather fetching trousers, in light of the woefully inept state of what currently passes for reality the numbed part of ya' really is waiting for the Vogons to bulldoze the lot of us/Davros to get the Reality Bomb working. Dismal. But be thankful ye're living and march to your front...ah, no, maybe not that last , sorry Gertrude/Tom.... honestly
**Copyright a tantalising rare still from Dennis Hussey/Mirrorpix.
***I mean, I think our daisiest daisy just got trampled underfoot but away with ye haters of any persuasion, heaven in a wildflower etc etc