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Doctor Who: The Twin Dilemma

"I’m the Doctor. Whether you like it or not.”

I like it not.

To say that ‘The Twin Dilemma’ is bad is something of a generous understatement. One it does not deserve in the slightest. Forgive the hyperbole, but this story, Colin Baker’s first as the Doctor, is one of the most atrocious pieces of television in the entire history of the medium. Rectal surgery from a drunk, one handed surgeon with rusty instruments is more appealing than having to sit through ‘The Twin Dilemma’ again.

This is a story without a single redeemable feature. Not one. Believe me, I looked and really wish I hadn't. Everything about this story is putrid donkey shit. The acting, the direction, the script, the production design, everything. I’m frankly amazed I managed to get through it all without taking a sledgehammer to my TV in disgust.

Coming at the end of a season rather than the beginning, the budget had clearly run dry leaving the production staff up the creek without even a boat, let alone a paddle. The sets are so hideous it’s nauseating. You struggle to get through a single scene without wanting to throw up. The alien make-up is embarrassingly bad even by Doctor Who's low standards, with the main bad guy, the Mestor, being the chief offender. There have always been dodgy monsters throughout the show’s long history even to this day, but that still doesn’t prepare you for the epic naffness of the Mestor. Honestly, I’ve seen crayons that could inspire more terror.

I’d feel sorry for Colin Baker, being lumbered with this travesty as his debut, if not for the fact he really hams it up to eleven here. His Doctor is a man of pure, uncontrolled ego. The Doctor’s always been a bit big headed and full of himself from time to time, but this is his egomania unleashed in all its grotesque glory. He’s so full of himself he even makes insulting, disrespectful and unfunny digs at his previous incarnation (“I was never happy with that one”). Gone is the charm, the warm sense of humour and boyish enthusiasm, this is everything that is unappealing about the Doctor taken to the extreme.

Not only is this Doctor such an unlovable louse, some bright spark decided that it would be a good idea if he was violently unpredictable as well. Thus we get the infamous scene in episode one where he completely loses it and strangles Peri. Yeah, there's nothing like almost murdering their companion to really warm you up to a new Doctor.

And as for the new look, Peri sums it up perfectly: “Yuk!”

Notes and Quotes

--New Doctor means new title sequence. This one isn’t much different from the previous version. The new mix of the theme tune is pretty ghastly though.

--Could they really not come up with more imaginative names for the twins than Romulus and Remus?

--Colin Baker, like everyone else, hated his costume. He wanted to be dressed all in black. As bad as the Sixth Doctor's outfit is, it is not the biggest wardrobe disaster in this story. That (dis)honour belongs to pretty much everything that space cop Hugo (a very young Kevin McNally) is forced to wear:

The Doctor: "Ahhh... a noble brow. Clear gaze. At least it will be given a few hours sleep. A firm mouth. A face beaming with a vast intelligence. My dear child, what on Earth are you complaining about? It's the most extraordinary improvement."
Peri: "Improvement?! On what?!"
The Doctor: "My last incarnation... oh, I was never happy with that one. It had a sort of feckless 'charm' which simply wasn't me."
Peri: "What absolute rubbish! You were almost young, and you were sweet."
--You tell him, Peri.

The Doctor: "Well, look at me. I'm old, lacking in vigour, my mind's in turmoil. I no longer know if I'm coming, have gone, or even been. I'm falling to pieces. I no longer even have any clothes sense... Self-pity is all I have left."

The Doctor: "Thou craggy knob!"

Zero out of four evil slugs.
Mark Greig is too lazy to come up with a decent joke. More Mark Greig


  1. Oh Mark, with reviews of all of Sawbones Hex's tenure stretching ahead, I don't envy you this part of your epic quest.

    I'll still read them all though. ��

  2. Tim, I can (just barely) handle Col's tenure. It's McCoy's first series that i am really dreading.

  3. It's not that bad or rather it's so bad it's funny at least it's better than underworld. Don't worry there's seasons 25 & 26 coming soon.

  4. I actually have 10 stories below this one, mostly from the 6th and 7th Doctor eras, with a couple detours elsewhere like Underwater Menace and Invisible Enemy, but this is a bad story, and is below average even for Colin's tenure. This all makes me sad as Colin really wanted to be the Doctor, and he is a good actor, they just stuck him with some awful stories to work with. Imagine how different things would be if he had better writing, wasn't fired, and got his wish to play the role even longer than Tom. You have to give him credit too, he doesn't bear the show or fans ill-will and took over some of the classic-fan stuff over once we lost the beloved Nicolas Courtney. I have a ton of respect for Colin.

    It's hard to find much to like here. I hate how he attacks Peri, his regeneration problems come off terribly instead of fun like when Tom Baker started, and it's a bad plot with a villain that looks cross-eyed. A sad beginning to the last stages of classic Who.

    1. This episode gave me a terrible migraine when it first aired. I haven’t watched it since.


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