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Doctor Who: Paradise Towers

It's acting, Jim, but not as we know it. 
"No yellows. All unalive now."

Like so many Doctor Who stories for this era, 'Paradise Towers' is one with some interesting ideas that are poorly executed. Very, very poorly.

On the hunt for somewhere to go swimming (no, seriously, they're looking for a swimming pool), the Doctor and Mel find themselves in Paradise Towers, a once state of the art, luxury high-rise apartment building that has fallen into decay and chaos, where violent, colour coded, all female street corridor gangs roam about the place causing all sorts of trouble. Well, I say violent, but these girls wouldn't last five minutes against the students of St. Trinian's.

Also roaming around the place are killer robots known as Cleaners, who are only effective if you stand perfectly still and let them attack you. As is so often the case in stories like this, something else is going on behind the scenes, something sinister(er), but before we can find out what that is we're subjected to the usual endless running around and around lots of identical corridors and the odd bit of capture and escape, capture and escape.

Writer Stephen Wyatt took inspiration for this story from J.G. Ballard's classic dystopian novel High-Rise. Which is really just a nice way of saying he copied the plot, but filtered out the really, really dark stuff so it would be suitable for a family audience. Props to him for keeping the cannibalism. Let this be a lesson to everyone, never trust nice little old ladies. All they want to do is eat you, or worse, bore you to tears with stories about their grandchildren who never visit them.

'Paradise Towers' is a story filled with too many annoying characters played by young actors who can't act and older actors who are either phoning it in or going way over the top. Yes, I'm looking at you, Richard Briers. Looking like a reject from a gay disco version of Springtime for Hitler, Briers gives one of the most horrendously over the top guest performances in Who history. And that was just when he was playing the Chief Caretaker. Once he gets possessed by the Great Architect he takes bad acting to a whole new level of awfulness.

Do it, go on, do it!
Notes and Quotes 

--Richard Briers later appeared in the Torchwood episode 'A Day in the Death'.

--Mel finds herself trapped in a tower filled with killer robots, violent gangs, cannibals, and then decides to go for a swim? Not since Adric have I so strongly rooted for the cheap looking robot creatures.

Pax: "Are these old ladies annoying you?"
Mel: "No."
Pax: "Are you annoying these old ladies?"

One out of four gay disco versions of Springtime for Hitler.
Mark Greig is still pissed Thandie Newton didn't get the Emmy for Westworld More Mark Greig


  1. Nice review, Mark. Thanks.
    Not sure how much feedback you get for your DW reviews but I enjoy them all.

    Totally with you on the Thandie Newton thing too.
    She wuz robbed!

  2. She wuz indeed, Tim. Happy to see you're enjoying the reviews.

  3. I like this one more than you but it's no masterpiece. The 80s vibe really makes a lot of the 6th and 7th Doctor stories look very odd as we see here very strongly, and this is from someone who graduated high school in 88!

    I've not read the book that inspires this story, but the way the building is such a mess, while the caretakers go strictly by the book is fun satire, and I actually liked the head caretaker until he got possessed by the builder when he's so flatly acting it ruins things for me.

    Mel is bad as always, but at least the Doctor is much better than Time and the Rani already. Not a great story by any means, but it has a lot of fun moments, and I heard that the audience at the time of original broadcast was actually hoping that the residents were going to get to eat Mel!


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