Creepy, mysterious, beautifully haunting; The Greatest Show in the Galaxy is a Doctor Who masterpiece, certainly one of the 7th Doctor’s best. The clowns were an ingenious idea for a Doctor Who villain and I’m surprised it took them 25 years to play with such a common fear. Nonetheless, the end result is superb with one of the best scores ever for a Doctor Who story and some of the most stunning and realistic Classic sets designed. There’s a cool song at the start too…
One of the things I love most about the 7th Doctor and Ace’s relationship is that both of them are rather hopeless. The TARDIS scenes in Episode One are rather hilarious, especially when Ace comes crawling around the corner with Tom Baker’s scarf on! They’re a rather quirky pairing but they need each other to keep the other one out of trouble, and that’s wonderful.
The Episode One cliffhanger was one of the least gripping I have ever seen (“Well are we going in or aren’t we?”) but at least it made sense; Dragonfire I’m looking at you. That aside, the episode itself left us with some mysterious clues to keep us intrigued to watch the next episode so all is still on track.
The range of characters on offer is one of my favourites for any Doctor Who story. The stall lady, Whizz Kid, Captain Cook, Mags, the Ringmaster, Nord, Morgana, Deadbeat, Bellboy, Flowerchild; such a variety of characters, each bringing something different to the story as they juxtapose one another. My particular favourites of the group are Captain Cook and Mags. Captain Cook is so oddly laidback about everything that you’re not quite sure what to make of him. Eventually, he shows his true colours in the ring when he leaves the Doctor to die so he can escape. Mags however is my favourite favourite character as she switches between good guy and unintentional bad guy. I won’t spoil what happens but the cliffhanger to Episode Three is one of the scariest ever.
While I adore this story and, even though it’s well respected in the Doctor Who fandom, feel it’s underrated; some of the events in Episode Four confused me a little. It was mainly the medallion really. I just didn’t really understand why it made Kingpin lose his mind. However, I plan to read the Target novel soon to gain a better understanding as it may just me being a little slow.
The scene where the Doctor calmly walks away from the exploding circus is pure class. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so impressed by the Doctor in such a way before, it made me smirk with amazement, disbelief, and wonder; it was so cool that the 7th Doctor rose in my estimations higher than I thought possible. I also like that Deadbeat and Mags are out there somewhere running The Greatest Show in the Galaxy. I liked these two characters quite a lot and they deserved a happy ending after the turmoil they went through on Segonax.