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Old 01-03-2014, 04:53 PM   #26 (permalink)
Urban Hat€monger ?
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218: The Twin Dilemma

Doctor : 6th (Colin Baker)
Companion : Peri Brown (Nicola Bryant)
Series : 21
Originally Transmitted: 22nd - 30th March 1984

In July of 1983 Peter Davison handed in his notice to the BBC that after the 20th anniversary special in November of that year and the following 21st series he would be leaving the role of the Doctor, taking the advice of previous Doctor Patrick Troughton who advised him to do it for 3 years and then leave. Davison was also unhappy with the quality of the scripts during the 20th series, when he did see the scripts for the 21st series he later said if they had been that quality the year before he would have stayed another year.

In August of that year it was announced Colin Baker would be taking over. Up until that point Baker's biggest role had been in a drama series called 'The Brothers' that screened during the 70s where he played the series bad boy Paul Merroney. He had also played the role of Commander Maxil, head of the Gallifreyan guard in one of Peter Davison's stories 'Arc Of Infinity' during the previous series. In that story he shot the Doctor leading Baker to say that he tried to kill the previous Doctor to get his job. A press call was held with Baker and another incoming actress Nicola Bryant playing new companion Perpugilliam (Peri) Brown. This press call is mostly remembered however for Baker wearing his best 'Saturday Night Fever' outfit.

As Baker was announced to the public so early and with Davison still contracted for another series there would have been anything from a year and a half to two years before the new Doctor would be seen on TV so the decision was made to have Baker's first story end the forthcoming series meaning that the public would only have to wait 6 months to see the new Doctor.

During the previous story (The Caves Of Andozani) both The Doctor & Peri are infected with Spectrox Toxemia which is slowly killing them. The Doctor finds the antidote (Bats Milk) Carrying Peri & the antidote back to the Tardis he is caught in a mudburst and thrown off his feet spilling most of the antidote. He drags themselves into the Tardis, gives Peri what's left of the Bats milk and dies....

And then comes back with a bad attitude.
The idea with the 6th Doctor was to start him off as being brash, arrogant & annoying and gradually have him soften over time and have people watching this series end by having the public not quite sure if they liked this guy or not.
The first thing he does after his regeneration is to pick out the most disgusting outfit he can find.

Then he calls Peri evil and tries to kill her

While she's being strangled she pulls out a mirror which stops the Doctor from trying to kill her. The Doctor says that his regeneration is going wrong and that he's becoming a danger to himself and to the universe and the only way to sort it out is to land the Tardis on an abandoned asteroid and become a hermit with Peri as 'his disciple'. Needless to say she's not thrilled with this.

Meanwhile a pair of twin boys who are mathematical geniuses are hypnotised and kidnapped by a Professor Edgeworth.

There was a rumour that the 2 boys playing the twins (Who weren't actors and boy does it show) also played the twins in the Matrix movies

Sadly this turned out to be a baseless fan rumour, much like the rumour that Kate Bush wrote an episode. But I'll cover that at the appropriate time.

So the twins are kidnapped, taken to Titan 3, a remote asteroid & set to work calculating the energy required to move planets. Also arriving on Titan 3 is the Doctor. He finds a wrecked ship belonging to Hugo Lang, Lang and his squadron have been charged with finding the missing twins, his whole squadron have died in the crash and he blames the Doctor for doing it. He attempts to kill the Doctor but passes out from the pain before he an pull the trigger.
Peri forces the Doctor to look after Lang and they leave him recover inside the Tardis while they go investigate a bunker that shouldn't be on an uninhabited asteroid. While inside a tunnel entering the bunker they're caught by 2 aliens at gunpoint

They're taken inside the building and the Doctor recognises Professor Edgeworth as Azmael, a time lord and one of his teachers. Azmael pretends not to recognise him and leaves with the twins and the aliens locking the Doctor & Peri inside the bunker with a shitload of explosives.

They just about manage to teleport back to the Tardis in time where they meet up with a recovered Hugo Lang who has decided to raid the Tardis wardrobe and ditch his uniform for a multicoloured bacofoil kimono.

They set the Tardis for the planet Jaconda as Edgeworth/Azmael is the leader of the planet. When they arrive they see a desolate planet with giant slimy slug trails everywhere.
They go to the Palace of Jaconda where the Doctor finds Azmael, eventually Azmael tells the Doctor that the planet has been taken over by Mestor the leader of the gastropods

He is using the twins to calculate how to move the planets in the solar system into a new orbit to power the Gastropods eggs throughout the universe.

The Doctor realises that the plan is doomed to fail and the solar system will be destroyed and they confront Mestor. the Doctor tries to attack him with a bottle of acid but it doesn't work. Mestor takes over the mind of Azmael who forces himself to regenerate. As it's his last regeneration he dies but takes the mind of Mestor with him. Lang decides to stay on Jaconda to help rebuild and the Doctor & Peri go back to the Tardis telling her that he is an alien and that he is the Doctor, whether she likes it or not. Then they both smile at each other.

In it's own context The Twin Dilemma while being a bad story isn't the worst example of 80s Doctor Who but given it came off the back of a great series of Peter Davison stories it is a massive disappointing introduction for the new Doctor. The idea of having the Doctor being unlikeable is a good one but this silly runaround with a load of giant slugs doesn't really give the chance to expore it any deeper. Also a lot of the acting is terrible from the wooden twins to the pantomime style villain Mestor who is essentially just a guy in a slug suit growling threats.
There are a couple of good moments in it, Colin Baker does ego & bluster brilliantly and the scene where he & Peri first step out on the asteroid is hilarious. As is Azmael's death scene where he & the Doctor reminisce about being on Jaconda during happier times, giving us our first look at the 6th Doctor's compassion & good nature.
Doctor Who would face a lot of turbulence & behind the scenes upheaval during Colin Baker's time as the Doctor and quite a few of the stories suffered as a result of that. The Twin Dilemma is a kind of foreshadowing of that.

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