There are some very neat ideas on display in this final story for Colin Baker and Bonnie Langford, written by Matt Fitton from a story breakdown by Nicholas Briggs. There are flourishes that we’ve come to associate with both writers’ styles, and, as director Barnaby Edwards notes in the Extras, it’s also got a very Hartnell feel about it, since there’s much of a feel of a quest or odyssey to it than the standard adventure.
There’s also an idea that hasn’t been used as much in Doctor Who as perhaps it should – the Doctor sometimes has to clear up situations created by his predecessors which we as an audience don’t actually know anything about. Okay, we now understand that some of the details of this will be revealed in a forthcoming Tom Baker story (and I had to grin at the Doctor not wanting to give away too much about a script that might not have been written when this was recorded!), but it’s good occasionally to be on the back foot.
Edwards keeps the whole story flowing nicely, with very different soundscapes for the locales, but allows the pace to slacken when it needs to – especially for some of the scenes featuring the Teveler family. With a strong cast, this is the best of this trio.
Verdict: An epic that presents a sense of scale while allowing the audience entry through the well-drawn characters. 8/10