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Doctor Who: The Krotons

“The Doctor’s almost as clever as I am.”

Robert Holmes isn’t just my favourite Doctor Who writer, he is without a shadow of a doubt the finest writer this show has ever had (past, present or future) and I will gladly fight anyone, to the death, who says differently.

Wait, what was that? Russell T. Davies? Right, you, outside now!

Robert Holmes had a knack for writing clever (if not always entirely original) stories filled with colourful characters and dialogue Steven Moffat would happily sell his children for. Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to find any of that in ‘The Krotons’. This was only the great man's first script for the series so it is understandably that he hasn’t quite yet found his niche.

Even at its best this is still the series at its absolute blandest. The plot is nothing we haven’t seen a dozen times before. In fact ‘The Krotons’ could almost be a textbook example of how to write an average Doctor Who story. The Doctor and his companions arrive on a planet to find one group of mean aliens enslaving another group of peaceful doormats. Quicker than you can say ‘reverse the polarity’ the bad guys are defeated, the slaves are freed and our heroes wave goodbye before departing in their trusty blue box.

Our villains of the week, the Krotons of Birmingham, are the latest in a long line of tiresome Daleks wannabes. Their basic design even looks suspiciously like it could’ve been rejected Dalek concept art (although I do love their spinning heads). Their slaves, the uniformly dressed Gonds, are a truly uninspired lot who spend far too much time bickering about how to fight their oppressors than they actually do fighting their oppressors. On the plus side, one of them is played by Philip Madoc, a seasoned expert in the delicate art of scene-stealing.

And as for the dialogue, well, for the most part it’s merely functional with only a few choice quotes. Certainly not worth selling your children for.

Notes and Quotes

--Zoe seems to have developed the same affinity for hypnotically short skirts as Amy Pond.

--Philip Madoc had previously appeared (alongside Bernard Cribbins) in the Peter Cushing film, Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 AD.

--Zoe’s smug little grin at gaining the highest score on the Krotons’ learning machines is utterly adorable.

--The Tardis has a Hostile Action Displacement System that causes Sexy to automatically dematerialize if under attack.

--This is the Krotons only appearance in the television series but they would latter feature in the Big Finish audio story ‘Return of the Krotons’ with the Sixth Doctor and Charley Pollard.

Beta: "It is not patriotism to lead people into a war they cannot win."

Seleris: "Doctor, you mean that thing was sent out to attack you and only you?"
The Doctor: "Yes, so it would seem. It’s rather flattering, isn’t it?"

The Doctor: "Zoe is something of a genius. It can be rather irritating at times."

The Doctor: "Great jumping gobstoppers, what's that?"

Two out of four Brummie Daleks wannabes.
--
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.

7 comments:

  1. Haha... great photo caption. If anyone can make recorders cool it's the Trout.

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  2. I am really enjoying the captions too, Mark.

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  3. Are we including the writers for the novels in the best author category? Because there's arguably tougher competetition there: tv has Malcome Hulke, Robert Holmes, Russel T Davies, Stephen Moffat and Douglas Adams, but the books (and audios!)... wow. Kate Orman, Daniel O'Mahoney, Lawrence Miles, Lloyd Rose, Daniel Aaronovitch and Marc Platt (both of whom wrote for the show, but arguably did far better work in the novels...), Robert Shearman, Stuart Sheargold... all truly fantastic authors whose work could stand completely alone without the Doctor Who logo (and some of whom have.)

    The Krotons were also in Lawrence Mile's novel Alien Bodies, who is also a truly great Doctor Who author.

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  4. Paul & Billie, happy to see you're both enjoying the captions.

    Nick, I'm only counting those who have written for the television series because I haven't read any DW novels.

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  5. I read your review a little too quickly. After seeing that the villains were "the Krotons of Birmingham", I thought the slaves were the "Gonads".

    I have only seen one Pertwee episode (where Sarah Jane first joins), so I've missed out on a lot of Holmes stories. But I thought the ones he wrote for Tom Baker were great.

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  6. Robert Holmes was a fantastic writer. patrick troughton was as the Dr should be, odd looking older and very eccentric. Please take note new series producers.

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  7. Julian Richings should be the Doctor.

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