In a final bid to regain control of the TARDIS’s faulty control system, the Doctor is driven to experiment with a dangerous untried combination.
With a violent explosion, the TARDIS blacks out and the crew find themselves trapped inside. A simple technical fault? Sabotage? Or something even more sinister? Tension mounts as the Doctor and his companions begin to suspect one another.
What has happened to the TARDIS? Slowly a terrifying suspicion dawns. Has the TARDIS become the prisoner of some powerful fifth intelligence that is even now haunting the time-machine’s dark and gloomy corridors?
The Edge of Destruction takes us directly into the TARDIS and through its many corridors. I did not trust the Doctor in this story. He tricks Ian and antagonizes Barbara and drugs people too. It is clear to the reader, through Barbara’s thoughts, that there is a divide. With Susan and the Doctor on one side and Ian and Barbara on the other. Susan is disorientated in this story, where she goes to stab Ian with a pair of scissors. The atmosphere is ramped up and it felt unsettling. I think we first hear the Cloister Bell in this story, not that it has that name until later. I’m fascinated by the Cloister Bell. I find it chilling.
I think the TV version of The Edge of Destruction is rudimentary. It is Who’s first psychological thriller. There are better examples of this type of story later on in Who. The book is able to give more depth to this story. It’s probably overlooked, and it is an important story for bringing these people together and allowing them to begin trusting one another.
Barbara is great again in The Edge of Destruction. She stood out for me. She tears a strip off of the Doctor in this story. I’ve always liked Barbara, and I am gaining a new appreciation for her. It’s strange how the female companions in Who get pigeonholed into a screaming stereotype and if you are young and getting into Who, sometimes you can believe that and think it is negative. Actually, we have Barbara, Vicki, Zoey, Jo, Leela, Tegan and Peri – these women were more than that. When I think about it, these women were created and written by men (and were written out by way of saying behind with a man, or if you’re Dodo – forgotten about) I wonder what influence the actors playing those characters had. Feminism didn’t start with Sarah Jane, it started with Barbara. Barbara mowing down a Dalek with a truck.
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