Tuesday, March 31, 2015


WELL, WHAT A LONG, STRANGE TRIP IT'S BEEN WINDING OUR WAY THROUGH THE QUARRY OF THE CLASSIC DOCTOR WHO FIELD OF 64.  But we've dunnit and now arrived at the final four, cor blimey!  So here's our big bracket:

with a lil close-up showing our final four:

3 Tom Bakers and a Pertwee.  Not too surprising, I suppose.  So, since I provided a very detailed account of all the stories in the "Elite 8" leading up to this final 4 punch-up, there's probably no point in beating about the Yeti. . .so I'll just get right to it.  Oh, and they're all number one seeds so the first match-up is:




And the second match-up is:




Be with us at the beginning of the month to find out who will take the crown (of Rassilon, presumably) as the greatest DOCTOR WHO story of all-time!    


THE SECOND HALF OF THE ELITE 8 NOW COMMENCES.  And I can honestly say that, by this point in the field of 64, we have no surprises with two #2 seeds going up against two #1 seeds.  I guess my ranking system was pretty spot on from the beginning, then.  For another glimpse, lets have the bracket to show us again how we got there.

And now on with the second half of our detailed "Elite 8" thingy:


#1) SPEARHEAD FROM SPACE - The luck of the draw has brought two Pertwee stories into head-to-head conflict!
Shockingly ranked number 36 on the DOCTOR WHO magazine's "Mighty 200" readers poll! 
The debut of Jon Pertwee's Doctor as well as the debut of colour on the show. This is also the start of the Doctor's exile on Earth and U.N.I.T. as a weekly staple headed by Nicholas Courtney's Brigadier as well as the debut of Caroline John's Liz Shaw. On top of all that, this is the show which was shot ENTIRELY on film with no video whatsoever. So it naturally was the first classic DOCTOR WHO to be released on blu-ray. As the new-faced Doctor tumbles out of his TARDIS and deals with his scrambled personality, the Autons (or the Nestene or whatever else they're supposed to be called) tumble to Earth like the projectiles in QUATERMASS 2 and begin taking over prominent civil servants etc.
The infamous early scene featuring shop window mannequins springing to life, smashing through plate glass and terrorizing the local citizenry is still remembered fondly to this day as one of the creepiest, "dive-behind-the-sofa" moments on the programme. The new Doctor's penchant for flashy clothes and fast cars is established early as he steals a nappy outfit and a classic car; can it be long before the Doctor gets his souped-up Bessie? Oh yes, and of course we get to see the Doctor's tattoo in the shower scene.
Liz Shaw's opening interview with the Brig is wonderful as the character is shown to be supremely capable to join U.N.I.T. and become an equal partner with the Doctor in his adventures. We only get Liz for this one series but she sure was a breath of fresh air from some of the usual bumbling/screaming female companions of the past.
The character could be feminine as well as matching the boys on their own turf but still demonstrating a fine sense of humour; Liz did all this without being the stereotypical severe mannish female scientist and was, in fact, quite the fashion plate besides. A good match to the new dandy Doctor.
SPEARHEAD has a nice action orientation as well as horror/science fiction atmosphere and an AVENGERS vibe; DOCTOR WHO would seldom be as "secret-agenty" again. A really superb start to a new era!


#2 ) THE GREEN DEATH - Ranked also at the relatively low (for its showing in this field of 64 anyway) ranking of #39 in the "Mighty 200" poll. 
Yeah, it's perennially known as "the one with the maggots" but there's quite a lot more going on. While SPEARHEAD FROM SPACE marked many beginnings, GREEN DEATH marks an ending with the departure of the daffy but loveable Jo Grant. It's a shame because by this point, Jo had become more than a klutz and was being allowed (sporadically) to actually be a helpful companion to the Doctor.

This story also marks the final appearance in the regular series of the classic "howlaround" opening title graphics as well as the DOCTOR WHO logo which first appeared in SPEARHEAD FROM SPACE. A miner in South Wales turns up dead and, oh by the way, glowing bright green.

The Doctor and Jo interrupt their planned "idyllic" holiday on Metebelis 3 to investigate. There they meet "dishy" Nobel Prize-winning environmentalist
Clifford Jones who is convinced local Global Chemicals' new process to increase the yield of oil is causing naughty things to happen i.e. a glowing green dead miner. Once down in the mines,
the Doctor and Co. find a lot of green slime (wait that's ANOTHER movie) as well as huge maggot creatures living it up down there. Meanwhile, inside Global Chemicals the BOSS (a supercomputer called the Bimorphic Organisational Systems Supervisor) is running the company and also mind-controlling people including UNIT's own Mike Yates.

The importance of this story is manifold. Not only does it mark the departure of Katy Manning
as Jo Grant but also pretty much crystalised Jon Pertwee's decision to leave the role the following year. Manning's departure coincided with the recent tragic death of Roger Delgado (The Master) and the announcement that Barry Letts would soon be leaving the series as producer. The fun and heart seemed to go out of the show for Pertwee and all these factors made up his mind to leave. Interestingly, Jo Grant leaves the Doctor's "employ" at the end of "The Green Death" because she gets engaged to Professor Clifford Jones; in real life Manning and Stewart Bevan (who played Jones) were actually engaged to be married at the time. And on a fun note: this is also the story where the Doctor is required to say the line "thick chitinous skin" when describing the maggots' hides. Neither Pertwee nor Barry Letts new how to pronounce "chitinous" so Letts told Pertwee to say "chit-inous" rather than the correct "kite-inous" pronunciation. Several days after the episode was broadcast, Letts received a letter from a fan containing only the following verse: "The reason I'm writin' Is how to say kitin".



#1) PYRAMIDS OF MARS - Ranked at # 7 in the DOCTOR WHO magazine 2009 "Mighty 200" readers poll. 
All the trappings of an Egyptian mummy Hammer Horror but skewed through the prism of DOCTOR WHO. We get the fanatical worshipper of ancient Egyptian gods a la Universal's series of Mummy movies as well as in the Hammers usually portrayed by actors like Turhan Bey, George Zucco or George Pastell; however, this time the ancient Egyptian god Sutekh is actually there physically on screen participating in the story.
And what a villian he makes with the fantastically-designed helm (evincing echoes of the helm of Dr. Fate, in fact). When he takes the helmet off, Sutekh is somewhat less successful although still authentically designed as a jackal-headed god. We also get mummies; however typically DOCTOR WHO changes things up by making the mummies robotic servants disguised in mummy-wrapping. This also famously gave Tom Baker the opportunity to wander around inside one of the mummy costumes while a visiting group of school children were unaware who indeed was actually underneath the wrapping until he surprised them all by suddenly revealing his identity.
Once again, like several storylines in this era of Tom Baker's tenure, we have a splendid English pile providing exterior location footage allowing the Doctor and company to roam about the verdant English underbrush and decaying statuary. The interior sets are also sumptuous; reminding one of the aforementioned Hammer Horror's designer Bernard Robinson who seemed to construct gorgeous sets with no money. As always, the chemistry between Baker and Elisabeth Sladen by this point was flawless and they are a joy to watch interact with each other. The guest cast is also top notch with a splendidly sepulchral Bernard Archard as Marcus Scarman, Michael Sheard as his put-upon brother Laurence,
Peter Copley as Dr. Warlock and the rich voice of Gabriel Woolf hissing Sutekh's evil lines.  Lawrence Miles & Tat Wood, in their seminal DOCTOR WHO book series ABOUT TIME sums it up by stating:  "Everybody involved puts in a top-flight performance here, so much so that this may be the story which sums up Tom Baker's Doctor (or, at least, people's memories of him) better than any other." 
And Marcus Hearn, in the much-cited DWM # 413 says:  "The flexibility of Doctor Who's format, or more specifically its ability to subsume any genre it plunders, allows PYRAMIDS OF MARS to disguise its sometimes implausible story beneath a superficially faithful adaptation of Hammer horror.  (Robert) Holmes would revisit the same territory in THE TALONS OF WENG-CHIANG . . .PYRAMIDS and TALONS both discard their gothic trappings for a resolution that sees the Doctor employ cunning pseudo-science to rout the menace.  Unlike the Hammer Horrors, there is no place for magic in DOCTOR WHO.  Wherever the (Philip) Hinchcliffe stories too their window-dressing from, they remained ultimately faithful to DOCTOR WHO's enduring principals.  Our continued appreciation of these episodes is therefore multi-layered, with scenes evocative of the films that scared us as children, fantastical science-fiction plots and the ultimately reassuring presence of Uncle Tom Baker to wrap the whole thing up." 


#2 ) GENESIS OF THE DALEKS - Unsurprisingly ranked at the # 3 spot in the "Mighty 200" poll. 
The monumental storyline which establishes (as much as we can in the long history of DOCTOR WHO) the "origin story" of the Daleks as well as the introduction of one of the greatest, most iconic villains in the show's history: Davros. A design triumph combining the decaying humanoid top half with the traditional bottom half of a Dalek. The Doctor is "hijacked" by a Bergmanesque Time Lord and given the assignment to travel back in time to the beginning of the Daleks' development and to either eliminate or alter their initial creation. Quickly joined by Sarah Jane and Harry, the Doctor is soon plunged into the grim and gritty, war-torn Skaro (probably the most reminiscent of a war film since Troughton's swan song THE WAR GAMES). Poison gas and gas masks, rat-a-tat guns and Naziesque uniforms abound.
Skaro has been laid waste by a seemingly endless war between the Thals and the Kaleds. During a poison gas attack, the Doctor and Harry are taken inside the Kaled dome while Sarah Jane is separated from them and becomes mixed up with the Mutos (mutated victims of early chemical weapons) and this group (along with Sarah) is captured by the Thals who use them as slave labour in the construction of a missile to be fired at the Kaled dome. Whew! Inside the Kaled dome, the Doctor and Harry try to convince General Ravon and Security Commander Nyder that they are from another planet which their leader Davros has proclaimed as impossible. Enter Davros with his new "Mark III travel machine" he calls "the Daleks". Can't be good, can it?

Indeed it isn't for most of those concerned. After a lengthy absence from the series, Daleks creator Terry Nation was invited back by producers Barry Letts & Terrance Dicks to write another story but they found his first draft to similar to past stories. The suggestion was made that Nation should write an origin story which he did; however by the time the story was finished Letts and Dicks were leaving the show and transferred the project to their successors Philip Hinchcliffe and Robert Holmes who encouraged a "darker" tone to the proceedings.  The bloody great cast is headed by Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen and Ian Marter who as usual are absolutely perfect. 
The guest cast features the superlative Michael Wisher bringing the evil Davros to (I guess you'd call it semi-) life and Peter Niles as the slimy Nyder.  "The moral of GENESIS OF THE DALEKS is this:  Daleks -- 'can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em'.  " Alan Barnes opens his write-up of GENESIS in DWM's "Mighty 200" issue,  "For the Doctor, for the character whose adventures in time and space we've followed for 12 long years to this point, 'can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em' amounts to a revolutionary insight, a man at last understanding the purpose of his seemingly random adventures. . ."  Barnes brings us into Joseph Campbell territory as well:  "...the hero's journey is about the gaining of wisdom, a wisdom won by passing a number of trials and ordeals.  For me, GENESIS OF THE DALEKS is all about the Doctor's journey.  It begins with a Time Lord inviting the Doctor to undo or amend the creation of the Daleks.  It's never stated, but were the Doctor to succeed, he'd be undoing or amending his own personal past -- wouldn't he?  The stakes could not be any higher:  the Doctor has the chance (at last?), to play God. . .You know what?  I don't believe that Time Lord is serious. . .I think:  this is a story about the gods tormenting the hero.  The mission itself is a trial:  the possibility of success a punishment.  And the Doctor knows it. . .GENESIS OF THE DALEKS isn't about the Daleks.  It's about the Doctor -- about his mission, his trials, his choice."


So there we have it:  the final four has been established.  Probably not a surprise that there is a heavy "Philip Hinchcliffe-era" presence in the top stories chosen.  Perennially a fan favourite, these darker, more gothic-flavoured stories have long been considered the apex of DOCTOR WHO's long run and I'm inclined to agree with the majority of fans who, for instance, placed more Hinchcliffe stories in the "Mighty 200" fan poll than any other producer.  When asked about this, Hinchcliffe himself said:  "Well, I'm very pleased that a number of my stories are still all-time favourites and not yet completely supersede by the new ones!  My personal favourites are also ones that come high in the poll; TALONS, PYRAMIDS, GENESIS, ROBOTS.  I think they had good scripts and the production elements and direction came together well without any obvious failures."

Monday, March 23, 2015


WELL, WE'VE ARRIVED AT THE ELITE 8.  Things are getting serial, folks!  There were possibly a couple upsets last time around -- the tenacity of the wacky STONE OF BLOOD is particularly surprising.  If only the last half of it didn't suck, it might be one of the best storylines EVER!  It just shows to go ya how a superb first half can save a story; but it was a squeaker, I'll tell you.  This story is probably my equivalent of Sweet Cheeks' . . . er um I mean Jon Pertcheeks . . . THE HAPPINESS PATROL on his Field of 64.  And perhaps the biggest upset to many of you will be the toppling of fan favourite THE CAVES OF ANDROZANI; after all, it did win the 2009 DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE readers poll.  Sadly, CAVES OF ANDROZANI is, in my opinion, very over-rated.  There are some great things in it, don't get me wrong, but most of the so-called innovative violence and rat-a-tat-tat shoot-em-up aspects I find . . . weeeeeeeeelllllll . . . pretty dull, actually.  Sorry.  And also, by this point, I think it's fairly obvious that for the most part gothic horror wins out over clinical, over-lit science fiction for me.  I am, after all, a horror guy.  I much prefer my Doctor to be sneaking around a dark mansion than patching circuitry in a freshly scrubbed clinically-white laboratory.  That's just me.  So let's take a look at where we stand, huh?

Ah yes, as always you can click the pix to biggify - although I'm afraid it doesn't get much bigger.  However, I'll be providing closer details of the bracket as we motor along (...in Bessie, no doubt).

So on forth we sally to the Elite 8:


#1 seed)  CITY OF DEATH  -  Ranked #8 in "The Mighty 200" Doctor Who Magazine Readers' Poll.  In that magazine, Gareth Roberts wrote:  "It's got a glow so warm you could toast bread off it." 
The original story David Fisher came up with was called "A Gamble with Time" which would've taken place in 1920s Monte Carlo where an alien masquerading as a human is winning too much at the gaming tables using a combination of mental powers and advanced mathematics in order to raise enough money to build a time machine.  But then, the guy in charge of DOCTOR WHO's budget (one John Nathan-Turner) figured out that it would be much cheaper to film in present day Paris using a small cast.  The story is one of the most-watched DOCTOR WHO programmes of all time and emerged from a series of strikes which scuttled the SHADA storyline.  CITY OF DEATH is near perfection; only the slight padding of the Doctor and Romana running through the streets of Paris may cause a grumble. 
However, without that, we wouldn't get the famous and beloved "Running Through Paris Music" which, thanks to the indispensable ABOUT TIME book series, we can all now sing along to:  "running through Paris, we're running through Paris, we're running through Paris . . . we're running through France."  The ancient Jagaroth pilot (played with relish and wit by Julian Glover) explodes his spaceship back in primordial Earth and inadvertently creates the spark that begins life on the planet.  Splintered into 12 separate but connected versions of himself throughout history, the Count nudges the development of the human race forward so that his final version (in 1979 Paris) will have technology capable of building a time machine to undo his boo boo.  All through time, the
Count has amassed art treasures to sell in his future to finance said time machine.  This results in the exquisite scene in which Tom Baker opens panel after panel to find 7 authentic Mona Lisa paintings.  This brings us to the script by Douglas Adams and Graham Williams which is one of the best-written ever to feature on DOCTOR WHO; providing sparkling dialogue which gives everyone involved a chance to shine.  The acting is perfection across the board with Tom Baker seldom appearing better.  CITY OF DEATH features one of Baker's greatest moments ever when he is ushered into Catherine Schell's drawing room and executes a delicious pratfall, pops up behind the sofa (prime DOCTOR WHO watching territory) and makes his quip about loving her butler because he's so violent.  This entire scene, in fact, is pure DOCTOR WHO magic including Baker's tossed off line to Catherine Schell that "You're a beautiful woman, probably." 
The cast, as mentioned, is top notch from Glover and Schell (of TV's SPACE: 1999)
to Tom Chadbon (of Amicus' THE BEAST MUST DIE) as the delightful thumping Duggan to the absolutely right cameo by John Cleese and Eleanor Bron. 
Tom Baker's memories of CITY OF DEATH:  "That was wonderful.  The interesting thing about running around the streets of Paris, of course, was that in England they'd look at you in amazement, whereas in Paris they just liked the scarf!" 
Top drawer DOCTOR WHO!


#2 seed)  THE TALONS OF WENG-CHIANG  -  Ranked #4 in the "Might 200" Doctor Who Magazine Readers Poll and the one that won it all at #1 in the original OUTPOST GALLIFREY fan poll!  In aforesaid DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE, Philip MacDonald writes:  "No Doctor Who story is entirely perfect, although this one gets pretty close..."  Like CITY OF DEATH, the story has only one real letdown in the budgetarily-challenged giant rat.  However, the gloriously realized BBC version of Victorian England circa Sherlock Holmes, Jack the Ripper, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, gaslights on fog-enshrouded streets, hatchet-throwing Tong members and Houdini-type stage shows is so good you could eat it! 
The often-mentioned PYGMALION aspect of the Doctor's relationship with Leela is wonderful as is the comedy duo of Jago & Litefoot (who were so good they were given their own long-running series of Big Finish audio adventures!).  Again, the script is flawless (by Robert Holmes from Robert Banks Stewarts uncredited story) and everyone is given superb dialogue.  While we're on the subject, the cast is once again unparalleled:  Tom Baker and Louise Jameson play extremely well together, Christopher Benjamin & Trevor Baxter (as the aforementioned Jago & Litefoot respectively) are superb and John Bennett as Li H'sen Chang is alternately witty and menacing.  This brings us to the "race" question which seems to hang up a few people.  The erroneous statement making the rounds the the story was long unshown in America for fear of upsetting Chinese Americans is simply untrue.  I've been watching DOCTOR WHO on American TV since 1978 and it played as often as every other Tom Baker story from then all through the 80s and into the 90s. 
Caucasian actor John Bennett wearing what's been called "slant-eyed makeup" and talking with a Chinese accent has also been brought up; however, Bennett plays the character without any hint of racial stereotypes as a cultured gentleman who is always shown as much smarter then almost everyone around him.  The script in fact takes several opportunities to point out the racial prejudice of some of the British constabulary etc. and how wrong-headed it is.  In fact, the British characters are actually hugely stereotyped as "...pompous, incompetent and self-deluded..." (as pointed out in the ABOUT TIME books) which continues "It's telling that the script replaces all Li H'sen Chang's "r's" with "l's" only when he's on the stage, suggesting that it's just part of the act he puts on for the sake of the ignorant British."  If a role's portrayal doesn't denigrate a race or utilize racial stereotypes, there is no reason why it cannot be played by any actor considered good enough to hire;  stating that only a Chinese actor can play a Chinese role (aside from instituting a hiring practice based on an actor's race) is no more valid than saying only a Swedish actor can play a Swedish character or indeed that a woman cannot play the lead in Shakespeare's "THE TEMPEST" . . . or, for that matter, in DOCTOR WHO. 
Leaving all this aside, THE TALONS OF WENG-CHIANG perennially tops the list of fan favourites because it's just so damn good!  To give our own Leela the final word, Louise Jameson had this to say:  "Talons is still the one that all the fans talk to me about.  It's the one that turns up in conversation more than any of the others.  And Robert Holmes was, to me, the best writer on the show.  And although it plagiarized many outside stories - Sherlock Holmes, My Fair Lady, and so on  - it also had a weird and wonderful thrust of its own.  I think the cast was fantastic - Chris Benjamin and Trevor Baxter, and lovely John Bennett.  You couldn't get better, three classical actors appearing in a sci-fi - it was an absolute joy."

THE WINNER:  (after much agonizing):  THE TALONS OF WENG-CHIANG


#1)  THE SEEDS OF DOOM  -  Ranked #16 in DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE's "Mighty 200" Readers Poll.  A seed pod falls to Earth from outer space nearby a scientific outpost in Antarctica.  Naturally, a scientist brings it back and becomes infected by the "Krynoid" which slowly transforms him into a plant creature. 
The Doctor and his "best friend" Sarah Jane Smith are sent to investigate while, at the same time, a zillionaire named Harrison Chase (who is very, VERY keen on botany) sends his murderous thugs to "acquire" the pod for his collection.  As with the best DOCTOR WHO, the 6-part story "acquires" the best elements of many different works from "THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD" to "THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT" to "INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS" to "DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS" to "THE AVENGERS" (the one with John Steed and Mrs. Peel, you philistines!!!). 
This is one long-form DOCTOR WHO story which has not a second of padding; this fact owed probably not only Robert Banks Stewart's flawless script but also to the legendary action director Dougie Camfield - who never got another chance to director a DOCTOR WHO due to his premature death. 
Peter Griffiths, in the DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE poll puts it this way:  "THE SEEDS OF DOOM is such a lavish production it almost doesn't feel like DOCTOR WHO at all; this is a story with the Doctor as action hero, felling gangsters with an uppercut to the jaw, lobbing petrol bombs at lashing tendrils and crashing through a skylight to hold the villains at gunpoint.  And what villains they are:  John Challis as the sneering mercenary Scorby and Tony Beckley as the serenely smiling Harrison Chase, never happier than when he's adjusting his black leather gloves or noodling on his synthesizer in his green cathedral.  It's DOCTOR WHO at it's most uncompromisingly gruesome..."  Tru dat! 
Forget the violence of THE CAVES OF ANDROZANI or THE DEADLY ASSASSIN; we've got both the Doctor and, later, Sarah Jane about to be ground into a bloody pulp in a nasty-looking composter which will pump their gory ground-up guts into the garden!  As usual in the Elite 8, the cast is also superb.  Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen are perfection in their chemistry and interaction with each other by this point and the aforementioned John Challis is superb as the at times sociopathic Scorby who also manages to create a rounded character that one actually kinda likes by the end of the show.  Then we have Camp Freddie himself:  Tony Beckley as urbane and also sociopathic Harrison Chase.  He's cool, cool, cool -- ice itself with his snowy hair and icy eyes . . . until, that is, he gets a spark of fire when defending his plants and demanding the eradication of the torture of the bonsai tree!  Beckley manages to be genuinely unsettling in his cold evil while inserting perfectly-placed bits of humour in his performance. 
Then the icing on the cake is the marvelous Sylvia Coleridge as dotty plant artist Amelia Ducat puffing her cheroot and adding tons of charm to the proceedings.  The only minus is that the Brigadier was in Geneva and missed being in this wonderful story.


#2 seed)  THE ROBOTS OF DEATH  -  Ranked # 9 on "THE MIGHTY 200".  The Doctor and new companion Leela land on board a sandminer run by a society who have become largely dependent upon robots to "do" for them.  Soon, a crewmember turns up murdered and this Agatha Christie-like whodunit cranks into high gear.  Which crew member is committing murders . . . it couldn't possibly be the robots whose "prime directive" programming is never to harm a human.  You KNOW this is gonna be good!  Chris Boucher's script is a jewel and Michael E. Briant's taught direction never lags for a moment!  It's almost like Douglas Camfield's back holding the reins! 
Then there's yet another absolutely fantastic cast:  Russell Hunter (the beloved "Lonely" from TV's CALLAN) leads the group as Uvanov with excellent showings from Pamela Salem (as Toos), David Bailie (as Dask) and Brian Croucher (as Borg).  Even Gregory de Polnay (as D84) and Miles Fothergill (as SV7) deliver superb voice performances while hidden underneath their robotic garb and masks.  de Polnay's "Please do not throw hands at me!" plea has always been a winner for me and his D84 is loveable as all get-out! 
Tom Baker's famously "prickly" relationship with Louise Jameson in the early days of her "companionship"(!) are well-known but there's absolutely no sign of that here; Baker and Jameson works beautifully together and seem to have a real chemistry.  As Baker would later come to adore Jameson and apologise profusely for his naughty behaviour, we must chalk that up to his distress at losing his beloved Elisabeth Sladen as cohort.  There is simply just a palpable warmth displayed between the two actors which proves to me that Baker liked Jameson in spite of himself.  The beautiful costumes, ornate makeup and superb deco production design make each shot pure magic.  There are also some genuinely creepy moments as well as some unsettling ones:  the disassembled robot's hand dripping with bloody gore or the robo-surgery scene where the hooded Taren Capel takes apart a robot's head while it's hands still twitch!  Brrrrrr! 
In the words of Louise Jameson again:  "Robots just worked.  It's a good script, but I think it had brilliant casting - the cosmopolitan feel of the cast and the art deco design were the two layers that made that script really work.  If you were to just read the script, you simply wouldn't envisage the story as we ended up with it.  And Russell Hunter gives a wonderful performance."

THE WINNER:  (do I need mention there was much agonizing once again???):  THE SEEDS OF DOOM

Join us in a little bit for the second part of our Elite 8.........