Wednesday, 30 March 2016

4th Doctor 5.3 - The Paradox Planet

Lets face it, Doctor Who is completely bonkers and I am proud of its bonkersness (is that even a word?) and why shouldn’t I be? What other show can claim to have had The Web Planet, The Underwater Menace, The Sunmakers, all of season 17, Timelash, Paradise Towers and The Happiness Patrol in their canon – answer: none. It’s episodes like this that whilst not being to everyone’s taste show off the infinite creativity and again utter bonkersness (still not sure if it’s a word or not) of the writers. These oddball stories really give our show something special – a sense of fun, a sense of weirdness and a sense of not being afraid to be different.
This months Fourth Doctor release is most definitely a bonkers release – the concept is just a little bit mad because on the planet Aoris the past is at war with the future. Yup, soldiers from era 24 are at war with the denizens of the past in era 14 (known as the age of greed). The soldiers from the future are under strict orders not to kill anyone in the past for fear of causing a paradox. So far, so odd. It gets stranger – the future are at war with the past in order to preserve endangered species. Bingo! – you read it right, the plot goes from odd to bonkers in one sentence – the future is at war with the past in order to preserve natural history.
I thought I had read, seen and heard it all in my 40 or so years as a Doctor Who fan but this revelation made me laugh out loud in incredulity and admiration in its sheer, well “bonkersness” and bringing this tale of madness and menageries together is none other than our very own boggle eyed loon Tom Baker. Tom seems in his element in this story – he and Romana (Lalla Ward) are trapped in separate eras of the war, and had this been a new series story we would I am sure have had a horrid “timey wimey” hand waving explanation for things – no such nonsense here, events follow a set cause and effect – a bomb planted in era 14 is there in era 24 coming to the end of its countdown for example. The Paradox Planet isn’t the whole story though, the story carries on in next months conclusion Legacy of Death – because this one ends on a cliffhanger that I just didn’t see coming.
It’s a very odd story as I have previously stated, wonderfully acted by Tom, Lalla and a stellar supporting cast of Who Luminaries like Tom Chadbon – bye bye Duggan! – and Simon Rouse – You can’t mend people – the story is very fast paced and I did find myself getting a little lost towards the end in the scenes regarding the cult of Machina – I am sure all will become clear in Legacy of Death.
Overall, a plot from left field with sound grasp on cause and effect and a sparkling performance from the cast and a great set up for part two. 8/10.