The final story of Season 24, and McCoy’s first comes to a close this week, with the three part tale, Dragonfire. Written by Ian Briggs, this serial ran from 23 November to 7 December, 1987.
This was Mel’s (Bonnie Langford) last adventure with the Doctor, and a new companion, Ace (Sophie Aldred) joins the Time Lord in the TARDIS. It also sees the return of Sabalom Glitz (Tony Selby), as trouble begins to brew on a trading colony of the remote, Iceworld.
Glitz is hip-deep in trouble even before the story begins, and it definitely doesn’t paint him in a flattering way. Still, the Doctor realises , as he always does, that there is more going on on Iceworld than appears at first blush, and the Doctor, Mel and Ace, who calls the Doctor, Professor, go off in search of a treasure and dragons.
From her introduction, Ace feels like she is going to be a good match for the Doctor, she’s strong-willed, smart, interested in explosives, and doesn’t tolerate fools. She’s going to be a lot of fun, and she’s got some wonderful catchphrases!
While Ace and Mel are bonding, causing trouble, and even encountering the dragon, one of the episodes ends with a literal cliffhanger (that’s a little on the nose isn’t it?).
Glitz has a map that he’ll give the Doctor that will help find the treasure and possibly the dragon, which Ace insists uses lasers and not fire as a weapon. To get the map though, the Doctor has to help Glitz steal his ship, The Nosferatu, back from the powerful, and not exactly above board authorities on the planet, especially Kane (Edward Peel).
It’s a joyful note that one of Kane’s soldiers, is Belazs, played by Patricia Quinn, best known for her turn in the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Kane is up to no good, the dragon isn’t as dangerous to the Doctor and his friends as legends would have you believe, and the Doctor has a plan to unravel all of it.
There is something vaguely Alien about the dragon, and one has to wonder whether that was intentional. That supposition is backed up when one of Kane’s soldiers asks if he’s ever been on an ANT (bug) hunt. That sounds awfully familiar. Then with big guns, and motion trackers, the white-uniformed baddies go hunting for the Dragon, who has found an ally in the Doctor.
The story plays pretty quickly, and now, it seems McCoy has settled nicely into his role, which gives me hope for the next two series. I think he and Aldred will be a fine pairing, and one I’m actually looking forward to seeing play out.
Season 25 gets underway for Ace and the Doctor next week with Remembrance of the Daleks.