Doctor Who: Paradise Towers
1987 Doctor Who was in trouble. Collin Baker, the 6th Doctor
had been fired at the end of the previous season and the show had
already faced cancellation once. The show, now in itís 24th
year was considered an embarrassing dinosaur by BBC execs and ratings
were not what they once were. To top of all off Sylvester McCoyís
introduction to the audience in Time and the Rani was not what
you would call a classic story. With little promise of what sort of
Doctor he could be, audiences were not encouraged especially when he was
saddled with a companion like Mel who ranks as one of the least loved
companions of all time.
what was his second story Paradise Towers like?
decides that she wants to go for a swim and the Doctor has been forced
to jettison the Tardis swimming pool for some reason. So she decides
that Paradise Towers, for which the Tardis has a video brochure, would
be the perfect place to set down and dip her toes. The Doctor
reluctantly agrees and they arrive in a giant post-apocalyptic apartment
building where gangs of young women run wild (the colour coded Kangs),
cleaners desperately try to impose law and order, robots are killing
people, thereís a monster in the basement and the Ressies have turned to
cannibalism. My kind of holiday.
Paradise Towers continues season 24 which contains some of the worst
Doctor Who ever produced. And itís not the best example of this era,
Bonnie Langford can't act. I'm sorry but I'm afraid it's true she just
can't act. She says every line as if the person she is saying it to is
five feet further away from her than they really are.
if she was in a silent picture.
she's in good company here, the Ressies and the Kangs mug their way
though entire episodes without any shame or direction.
Richard Briers who plays the head cleaner can act as he recently
demonstrated in Torchwood but he has decided not to here. His
performance has been modelled after a close study of Monty Python.
The script is ok but it's emblematic of 80's desperation to have subtext
pushed to the forefront just in-case you don't get it. And the other
actors don't help in that regard. Pex for instance acts hard, as hard
as he can, so you get the idea that he's suppose to be a send up of the
square jawed hero, who is really a coward. Richard Briers looks like
Hitler because he is a petty despotic bureaucrat who decides to commit
genocide. Yes the Kaleds in Genesis of the Daleks were thinly
veiled analogs of the Nazis but it wasn't shoved down your throat quite
as forcefully as it is here.
The Doctor is better here than he was in Mark of the Rani but
that wouldn't be hard. No that's not fair, he is MUCH better here
than in Mark of the Rani. As a critique of the dangers of
bureaucracy the aforementioned Monty Python did it funnier and better.
Come to that so did another recent Doctor Who release The Sunmakers.
As for the Music, well the old Yamaha Dx-7 is really getting a workout
in all its midi glory.
The monster in the basement, is...terrible as is Richard Briers
performance when the monster takes him over. There must be a top when
you go over the top and he decides to go over that too. Something that
everyone but him sights in the making of documentary, he felt ďthatís
just how youíd play a possessed zombieĒ.
Frankly the whole enterprise smacks of a high school production.
Special Features: The writer, the script editor, Pex and Richard
Briers discuss the story whilst being interviewed by Mark Ayres who
wrote music for Doctor Who in the late 80ís but not this story?
Admitting that the lighting wasnít great, that Richard Briers overacted
(except Richard) they also admit that the pool scene isnít great and
that the Robot Cleaners arenít that great. Out of the myriad of issues
these quibbles seem to be small beer.
gather three of the main girls from the 80ís who talk about feminism and
how much they influenced the paradigm of the time and how they struck a
blow for girls everywhere and proceed to spend the next ten minutes
talking about clothes.
Audio: Nothing fancy here. Not one but two channels of full
stereo sound and your tweeters get a work out anytime Bonnie Langford
screams. A commentary where they discuss how good this episode is just
Video: The video quality is fine; nothing out of the box but itís
not that old so itís not that terrible.