Our latest meetup featured “The Unquiet Dead” and “The King’s Demons.”
“Dead” is one of my favorites, particularly among Gatiss’s eps, and the reason is Christopher Eccleston’s face. The way he lights up at the sound of screams; gushes with delight over meeting Charles Dickens; beams with pride as Rose takes down the feckless Mr. Sneed. The tenderness in his smile when he tells her he’s glad he met her. Much as I adore Capaldi’s Doctor, Nine is still the Doctor of my heart.
Rose, Gwyneth, and Mr. Dickens are pretty spectacular too.
“Demons” was chosen as one of the Fifth Doctor’s few historicals. (Not only – “The Visitation” takes place not too many centuries later in nearly the same setting.) It features the Master and introduces Kamelion. The story is less than engaging, particularly compared with “Masque of Mandragora.” Ainley chews all the scenery in sight, Tegan is cheerless and Turlough inoffensive. The fake John is king of over-actors everywhere. I wonder if Five’s swordfighting scene influenced Ten’s two decades later: the similarities were striking.
We capped off the night with a short documentary about the utter failure that was Kamelion. Peter Davison and Eric Saward are hilarious in their disrespect. Nicola Bryant is sweet, but some things can’t be sugar coated. The robot was exactly what one would expect of low-budget 80’s sci fi: a disaster in every way. Still, they tried. And finally someone made K9 look good.
Overall, it was a fun night. Next time we’ll see the Slitheen two-parter, possibly accompanied by some short feature or other, and after that, a Dalek doubleheader. I look forward to Six’s encounter.