My first review based upon Target Novels, orphaned episodes, and soundtracks/reconstructions. However much I love his era I have to admit it, a couple of William Hartnell’s stories are slow and drag on a bit; but I wouldn’t say Galaxy 4 is one of them. The plot could possibly have been a little more developed and being made in 1965, the production isn’t amazing; but this story has some of the best morals I’ve ever seen in a Doctor Who story. For that, it’s very commendable.
The main lesson we take away from this story is ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. As cliché as you may expect it to be, the writer, William Emms, incorporates it into the story quite subtly using it as a plot twist rather than a primary school school rules talk.
The beauty of Galaxy 4 (and I realise it is the whole point of the story) is how Maaga, leader of the Drahvins, initially appears beautiful and under attack, despite how evil and spiteful she gets later in the story. Then there are the Rills; ugly, smelly monsters that you’d expect to be the bad guys, especially as they have robot slaves with guns, yet they turn out to be wise and peace-loving with nothing but wisdom and friendship to offer. It’s a nice twist on the traditional ‘damsel in distress, save me from the monsters’ kind of story.
The cliffhanger for the recently recovered third episode, ‘Airlock’, is pretty scary and certainly left me rather horrified and on the edge of my seat. Seeing Steven slump against the sides of the airlock as Maaga teased him from the safety of her spaceship was brutal and is almost like an early version of that cliffhanger from The Deadly Assassin. One of my other favourite bits from the recently recovered episode is when Vicki wrestles with a Drahvin to steal her gun. Vicki and Steven are rather underrated companions in my opinion and made quite a team together with the First Doctor.
While it’s not the best story ever made, I don’t see what’s so wrong with it. It’s often rated fairly low in the polls, and even slumped in the recent Doctor Who Magazine Poll despite a recovered episode. It’s even quite dark in places if you think about it, the whole Drahvin society is centred around unethical actions. The production isn’t amazing though, I get that, but I believe that the story has a strong enough plot to make it enjoyable. Although, let’s be honest, anything with Old Bill is enjoyable (oh, and an exploding planet is actually pretty cool)!
What I love most about this story is its ability to shock. A lot of Series 7 part 2 felt a bit spoilt, but not this one. The Crimson Horror was the first new story in a long time that made my eyes uncontrollably widen in shock. What I also love about this story is how simple it is for a Matt Smith episode. A lot of 11’s era had story arcing running throughout but this one was pretty standalone which I liked. It was also quite horrific too…
In the introduction above, I mentioned the story made my eyes widen for the first time in a while. The bit where Mrs Gillyflower revealed who Mr Sweet was was so unexpected. It was nice not to have the monster pre-spoilt in trailers and promotional photos beforehand. The trouble with Series 7, both parts 1 and 2, was that because only a small number of episodes were being showed at one time, it was hard to make trailers without ruining some scary bits and spoilers. However, they did well with The Crimson Horror and should aim to promote episodes more like they did for this one in the future.
The venom was actually quite scary and gruesome. It’s not the scariest thing ever from Doctor Who but seeing the people being slowly lowered into thick red gloop was pretty horrific and terrifying; especially when we see the Doctor being dunked. The red bodies floating in the canal were also quite creepy and reminiscent of The Talons of Weng-Chiang (one of my favourite stories ever).
While a lot of people don’t like the fact the bad guy Sontarans and Silurians have been turned into good guys, I think it kind of works. I’m not too fond of the idea and perhaps wish they’d used new species’ for Vastra and Strax, but the humour is actually quite funny and they’re better creations than River Song! Some of the jokes in this episode were just to cheesy for me, like Thomas Thomas, but I always find Strax’s interactions with the other characters rather funny and just accept the fact it’s not within my powers to change what species he is.
Dame Diana Rigg plays a wonderful villain. When you consider how she used to run around in sexy jumpsuits in ‘The Avengers’ and once got married to James Bond, it’s quite funny seeing her as an evil old woman. “The wrong hands” was a brilliant line! Also, it’s nice knowing that Rachel Stirling, who plays Mrs Gillyflower’s daughter, Ada, is Dame Diana Rigg’s daughter in real life and that they chose Doctor Who to be the first show they star in together. I love the scene where Ada confronts her mother with “YOU HAG!” and starts beating her up with her white cane.
All in all, this Victorian horror hits the sweet spot. It has a very Phillip Hinchcliffe/Tom Baker gothic feel to it and it’s definitely one of Mark Gatiss’ best scripts yet (bar The Unquiet Dead in my opinion). The way the story starts off halfway through the Doctor’s investigation was something quite new and it was an enjoyable change that I’d welcome again. Strax was still quite funny without being cheesy and the way the sonic screwdriver keeps getting proven to have no use is great to see! I’m not sure if Mark Gatiss shares my view on getting rid of the sonic screwdriver, but if he does, then I hope he plans to write it out soon…
Over the course of the past 50 years, Doctor Who has made us laugh on so many occasions. While most stories aim to make us scared, maybe sometimes cry, dotted around are moments of hilarity that will make you laugh out loud even if you’re by yourself. There are so many moments I could include on this list from both the classic and the revived series’, however I thought I’d share with you ten videos of moments that made me laugh the most. If I’ve missed out your favourite funny moment then please tell me in the comments below…
“What Do You Mean Maybe?”
I begin my list with this short scene from The Time Meddler. There were a few scenes I tried finding for this list including Barbara’s “No not that awful noise, the other one” when talking about the Doctor’s singing. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find these clips by themselves without scanning the entire episodes on Dailymotion for them. Thankfully, I could find a space helmet for a cow; don’t you just love the 1st Doctor?
While the main funny bit of this clip is definitely the Doctor leaping and almost galloping away from the Cybermen, the thing I love most about this scene is how the UNIT soldiers are running towards the building to destroy the radio transmitter control while the Doctor just sits in the middle of them all… having his photo taken!
2nd Doctor Compilation
A compilation of the 2nd Doctor’s (and the best Doctor’s) funniest moment. The first one with the Ice Warriors is a particular favourite of mine and the one where Jamie snatches the telescope is hilariously subtle. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the scene from The Mind Robber where the Doctor builds Jamie’s face wrong, so you’ll just have to buy it on DVD instead!
The 3rd Doctor Meets the 2nd Doctor
Do I need to explain how funny this one is? Patrick Troughton is my favourite Doctor and the bit where he asked how the song went… that was it! I just couldn’t hold back the laughter!
“I Like Your Handbag”
The Green Death is such a brilliant story in so many ways. Scary, funny, gripping, and one of the most devastating ever broadcast. This scene however comes out of nowhere and lands right in front of you amidst the seriousness and issues brought up in the story. Mike’s face when he exits the lift is rather amusing too.
“I Say, What a Wonderful Butler” (Skip to 1:42 – 5:11)
No one has ever made a funny moments of Doctor Who list without including City of Death. It is almost definitely the funniest story of all time. The 4th Doctor’s witty lines that almost don’t make sense run throughout the four episodes making for continuous laughter. If you haven’t seen City of Death; a. Why not?, and b. You should! It deserves its title as one of the best stories of all time and you’ll see why when you watch it.
40 outtakes both classic and new, worth watching for Sylvester McCoy’s hilarity as well as his awesome friendship with Sophie Aldred offscreen. It seems there was quite a lot of mucking about on the sets of Survival…
“Her Ankle’s Going”
Out of the three clips, the first one was more annoying than funny but the second is funny and the third laugh out loud hilarious. I love Jackie Tyler, come the end of Series 2 maybe more than Rose herself. Her interactions with both Doctors were brilliant and never fail to make me smile.
The Doctor Meets Donna… Again
A lot of fans find this scene/story silly but this episode holds great memories for me, more than others just because it was a wonderful end to a wonderful day. It’s because of that that this scene has stuck with me ever since. We were all expecting the Doctor and Donna to find each other at some point in the episode, but I never dreamed of it being as funny as this!
Series 7 Compilation
I’m not the biggest fan of the 11th Doctor’s era but for me, while it seems I may be fairly alone in this opinion, Series 7 was my favourite of Smith’s series’. Sometimes the jokes from his time on the show could be a bit too childish/cringeworthy for me, however Series 7 was actually quite funny in places. I laughed out loud at the Cold War laugh imitation.