Season 25 gets underway this week that sees the return of the Doctor (McCoy) to 76 Totter’s Lane as well as the return of his most nefarious foe, the Daleks! This four part story ran from 5 to 26 October, 1988 and was written by Ben Aaronovitch.
The Doctor and Ace (Sophie Aldred) arrive on Earth in 1963, at the very familiar location (to Whovians) of Totter’s Lane to recover a relic left there by a previous incarnation of the Doctor – the Hand of Omega.
Unfortunately, he’s not the only one looking for it. The Daleks are there as well, but in two opposing forces. There are those who support Davros (Terry Malloy) and those who do not. All of them, however, are after the Hand, as it is a piece of Time Lord technology, and it could help the Daleks perfect their own time travelling methods.
McCoy gets to do more as the Doctor right from the off, there is an added layer to the character, he’s got a devious streak in him now, a Machiavellian bent that will serve him well against his old foes.
I like that Ace is completely out of place in the 1960s, lugging her boom box around and not understanding how the shillings and pounds break down (that’s two of us). The pair join up with a science expedition that is tracking strange repeating signals.
And that’s where the real trouble begins.
(There’s a fun moment when the Coal Hill headmaster advises the Doctor that if he wants to leave his references for the Caretaker’s position he can – a position he does take up in a later regeneration. There’s another when Ace turns on the television before she goes out, and there’s an announcement that sounds like the next programme to be aired will be the premiere of Doctor Who).
There are Daleks (who can finally mount stairs), spooky children, and the Doctor is really on point in this story. In fact the whole thing feels very close to the recent incarnations of the Doctor.
I was delighted to see Joseph Marcell in a small role in the story – most would recognize him as Geoffrey from The Fresh Prince.
As the story comes to its conclusion, the planet Skaaro is apparently destroyed, as is Davros, and the Doctor seems to have, once and for all, outwitted the Daleks.
But that can’t be possible… I’m sure they’ll be back.
But first, Ace and the Doctor encounter the Happiness Patrol.