THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE BIG
FINISH AUDIO DRAMAS
"RED" AND "BANG-BANG-
when the Doctor AND
MEL VISIT PARADISE
TOWERS, instead of
the LUXURY THAT THE
they find dark, rat-
full of RAMPAGING
gangs and APATHETIC
of whom are GOING
5th october 1987 - 26th october 1987
Sylvester McCoy’s first outing as the Doctor was nothing short of calamitous, and Paradise Towers, penned by theatre and radio writer Stephen Wyatt, is even worse. So here’s me “putting the world of Paradise Towers to rights.”
With only fourteen twenty-five minute episodes to shoot, the production team still managed to produce two completely studio-bound stories. But rather than spend their money on a decent production, they wasted half the budget on Richard Briers only to have him run around for half the story possessed by Kroagnon and looking like Hitler.
However, even a stunning, effects-laden epic wouldn’t have been worth its salt without a good script – something else that Paradise Towers lacks. Wyatt gives us Pex, a coward
with delusions of grandeur; the Rezzies, two grannies with a net; and then we have all the Kangs, who in fairness did have the potential to be interesting. Potential, I’m sorry to say, that was squandered.
The seventh Doctor is once again bland and uninteresting. I don’t blame McCoy – the script gives him literally nothing to work with. He really makes the most of certain moments, such as the wonderful ‘rule book’ scene in the prison cell with the Deputy Chief Caretaker (played splendidly by Clive Merrison) and the sequence where he rallies all the Kangs, the Rezzies, and even the Caretakers to come together as one and fight Kroagnon and his Cleaners. It isn’t enough though.
Some fans gave up on the series around this point. Some didn’t even make it through The Trial of a Time Lord. The 1986 and 1987 seasons saw possibly the most turbulent times in the history of the series and, with hindsight, very probably sealed its fate.
“Build high for happiness!”
On a more positive note, following this debacle the McCoy era would really begin in earnest. Things wouldn’t really click into place fully until Remembrance of the Daleks, almost a year on from this serial, but when they finally did we would be treated to two years of some of the finest Doctor Who stories ever old. Regrettably for McCoy though, I fear that a lot of viewers will only remember stories like Time and the Rani and Paradise Towers when they really are best forgotten.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2008
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