The final story of the 25th season is a four-part story that sees the Doctor and Ace (Sophie Aldred) confronting terrifying and evil clowns who want to be entertained. Written by Stephen Wyatt the story ran from 14 December, 1988 to 4 January, 1989.
The TARDIS receives an invite to the Psychic Circus, and the talent show put on by visitors to the event – something that intrigues the Doctor. But it seems the talent show is put on for a reason, and the sinister clowns of the Pyschic Circus feed off their entertainment.
Ace dislikes circuses and has a healthy fear of clowns, and consequently, the audience is put in her position as well. Colourful figures, and everyday items take on frightening meanings as the clowns, revealed to be the Gods of Ragnorak, wreak terror and claim lives in their quest.
There is a lot of fun moments, as tricks and gags are on display. McCoy brings a number of them out of his own practised past, giving some more layers to the Time Lord.
It should come as no surprise that the Doctor and Ace are captured by the Psychic Circus and held prisoner until it’s time for them to perform for the incredibly small audience (one family), and the clowns – who exude creepiness.
I think they probably couldn’t have gotten the entire story into three episodes, but it’s fun, and it works within the confines of its budget rather nicely. I will say, the rapping ringmaster gets a little annoying.
Ace and the Doctor continue to work really well together, there’s such a fun chemistry between them and their relationship is being moved to the fore, as you can see the shift beginning to highlight the Companion as much as the Doctor.
As always there are some great moments in this story, and it’s fairly entertaining, but could have been shorter. Still, it does have scary clowns, monsters, robots, time travel, a mystery, and the Doctor being oh-so-clever.
I think the best part of the story is when the Doctor confronts the Gods of Ragnorak and not only rails against them, giving them a piece of his mind, and also performing for them, with some great tricks and gags.
He outwits them in the end, and sets things to right before he and Ace continue on their way.
And somehow, just like that, season 25 of Doctor Who has come to an end. There’s one more series to go, as well as the movie before we enter the relaunch and adventures, characters, and moments that I love.
Next time, Season 26 gets underway with the return of UNIT in Battlefield.