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Doctor Who: Warriors’ Gate (Review)

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the longest-running science-fiction show in the world, I’ll be taking weekly looks at some of my own personal favourite stories and arcs, from the old and new series, with a view to encapsulating the sublime, the clever and the fiendishly odd of the BBC’s Doctor Who.

Warrior’s Gate originally aired in 1980. It was the third instalment of the E-Space Trilogy.

We found it.

Yes, well, that’s one of the advantages of living in a rapidly shrinking micro-universe.

What are the others?

Other what?

Other advantages?

Ah, well, it’s difficult to say.

– Adric, the Doctor and Romana discuss modern living

I’m actually very, very fond of Warriors’ Gate. It’s a piece of bold science-fiction that actually manages to accomplish what a lot of these stories in Tom Baker’s final season try to do. It offers an effective bit of speculative fiction while playing to the theme of entropy, decay and collapse. Both Stephen Gallagher’s fine script and Paul Joyce’s direction come together to produce a very thoughtful and clever Doctor Who story that manages to avoid a lot of the problems facing this era of the show.

More than that, though, it turns some of those disadvantages into advantages. After all, when else is the show’s tiny production budget going to produce something this beautiful?

Shades of grey...

Shades of grey…

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Doctor Who: The Age of Steel (Review)

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the longest-running science-fiction show in the world, I’ll be taking weekly looks at some of my own personal favourite stories and arcs, from the old and new series, with a view to encapsulating the sublime, the clever and the fiendishly odd of the BBC’s Doctor Who.

The Age of Steel originally aired in 2006.

Human race. For such an intelligent lot, you aren’t half susceptible. Give anyone a chance to take control and you submit. Sometimes I think you like it.

– oh, Doctor, you kinky so-and-so

I really don’t like Rise of the Cybermen. I think it’s a waste of a potential origin story for one of the Doctor’s most iconic adversaries. However, most of the problems with this two-parter are front-loaded. The set-up, quite frankly, is relatively pedestrian. It’s Doctor Who on auto-pilot. The follow-up, Age of Steel, actually works a bit better. That’s not to suggest that the script is any smarter or any tighter. Indeed, this is very much Doctor Who in big blockbuster mode. However, Age of Steel does have one massive advantage. It has director Graeme Harper working on it.

At least they're stylish...

At least they’re stylish…

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