Doctor Who the Greatest Show in the Galaxy
Review By Chris Tyler.
Season 25 for Doctor Who was one of ups and downs. It
could be argued convincingly that Doctor Who was once again beginning to
find its feet. There are smatterings of greatness but the reality is
that it’s still hobbling along with the bad taste of season 24 still
lingering in the mouths of many fans. “Remembrance of the Daleks” was a
great step in the right direction but then there was the sidestep of the
“Happiness Patrol” and then the distinct step backwards of “Sliver
Nemesis”. After that most people watching would just be happy if the
next story made any sense at all.
And so on to the Greatest show in the Galaxy.
First let me say that I share Ace’s view that clowns
aren’t funny, in fact they are creepy, very, very creepy. So when I was
a kid this episode scared the hell out of me. In many ways this is a
terrible story; badly written (hardly a surprise when it was written by
Stephen Wyatt who was responsible for “Paradise Towers”) with some
interesting concepts that is bought up from being dire by some excellent
performances and a distinctly adult tone that the Doctor Who of today
The Doctor is traveling in the Tardis co-incidentally
practicing his juggling, when some spam arrives telling him and Ace that
they should go visit the “Psycic Circus”. Ace isn’t interested but the
spam bullies her into it by asking if she’s scared to go. When they
arrive they meet a huge assortment of 2 dimensional characters. We meet
Flowerchild and Bellboy who are trying to escape the circus and are
pursued by the Chief Clown who gives the best performance in the show.
It’s a nothing part really, very little dialogue and no real character
and yet Ian Reddington somehow makes the Chief Clown chilling.
When the Doctor and Ace arrive they find in this
order; an annoying fruit stand owner, a Viking/space biker (who gives
one of the few terrible performances), an analogue of a 1890’s British
explorer and his pet werewolf, a rapping ringmaster (it was the 80’s
after all, pity every effort to rap in a TV show is so godamn awful),
evil clowns a plenty, a psychotic robotic bus ticket inspector, a giant
murderous robot and a fan of the circus called “Wizzkid” who is annoying
as all hell. It’s tempting to say that what it has in awful dialogue it
makes up for in imagination but that’s not quite true. In the end there
are also some gods who are evil and stuff. But the Doctor wins, although
since almost everyone who was good and innocent died it’s not really
winning per se. In that way the whole thing is dark, very dark
especially the scene where Bellboy commits suicide when he finds out
that Flowerchild is dead.
Video: Video quality is high
Audio: Audio quality is acceptable
Commentary by lots of
people but it isn’t that interesting or informative so I skipped a lot
The Show Must Go On: a
feature on the production of the story. Wait… What’s that sound? Oh yeah
that’s the sound of Andrew Cartmel insisting that he did a great job.
Seeing as this completes the release of the 7th Doctors’
adventures this is his last chance to do so.
Lost in the Darkness: A
short feature about the missing model shots from the episode.
Deleted and Extended
The Psychic Circus
(music video): But it’s never explained why this exists. I wish it
Music demos for
Remembrance of the Daleks: by Mark Ayres, also without satisfactory
Tomorrow's Times: With
Anneke Wills presenting media coverage of the Seventh Doctor, no-one
liked it at the time either apparently.
A sketch from Victoria
Wood - As Seen on TV. Starring Jim Broadbent as the Doctor. It’s
terrible. And has nothing to do with the episode whatsoever. Oh wait, if
you do a your research you will find out that Sylvester Mcoy was coached
in magic for this episode by Jeffery Dunnham “'The Great Soprendo” who
was married to Victoria Wood. So that must be the connection.