Doctor Who and the Krotons
Robert Holmes is a legend amongst Doctor Who fans. If
there is a Classic Doctor Who episode that you love, chances are that it
was written by Robert Holmes. But even geniuses have to start somewhere.
In Robert Holmes’s case he started with the Krotons; the first episode
of Doctor Who that he wrote way back in 1968.
The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe arrive in a familiar
looking quarry. Almost immediately someone is murdered right in front of
them. It turns out that on this planet the Gonds are the subjects of the
mysterious Krotons, the Krotons take the brightest and best of the Gonds
for their own nefarious ends and they are never seen again. As the
Doctor and Zoe try to find out what is happening on this planet (that
frustratingly for a review, goes unnamed; I think I shall call it
Gerald). The “Geraldians” start wanting to revolt against the Krotons.
This gives Jamie something to do as the Doctor and Zoe are being clever.
The Krotons when they appear are meant to be crystalline but they look
like nothing so much as an extremely fancy coffee machine. They steam
and froth anyone who comes near them looking dangerous.
The biggest problem with the story is that whilst it
has a good premise and is fairly well written it’s just a bit thin for
four episodes. It’s not a terribly auspicious start and unfortunately we
don’t have Holmes’s second episode that he wrote for Doctor Who “The
Space Pirates” but his third episode “Spearhead from Space” is rightly
regarded as one of the classic Doctor Who stories.
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There’s some commentary with the cast and crew which is ok but not
great. There is a really good documentary on the Troughton years called
“Second time around” which really gives a good synopsis about what how
good the Troughton years were and what we are missing out on with so
many of the episodes gone from the archives. There is also an interview
with Fraizer Hines that was done for “The Story of Doctor Who” and you
get the distinct impression that Fraizer was a real “Lad” when he was
young and those people go on to be dirty old men. Once again there is
the terrible “The Doctor’s Strange Love” this time sans annoying woman
but being only 2/3rds as annoying as it usually is, is still intensely
annoying. I don’t care what these people think especially as what they
seem to think is that they are terribly funny.