‘That’s a good thing, though. Right?’ Clara was getting worried now. ‘I mean it’s got to be better for a giant spider to be here rather than in the middle of some heaving city centre, hasn’t it?’ ‘That rather depends on what we’re going to be able to find here to help us sort it,’ said the Doctor ruefully. ‘I can’t exactly see the village store being equipped to handle a giant spider invasion, can you?’
THE CRAWLING TERROR BY MIKE TUCKER
The Crawling Terror is a domestic Doctor Who story, very reminiscent of the early 70’s stories with the third Doctor, Liz and UNIT. We are introduced to residents of Ringstone, a peaceful countryside village in Wiltshire: a mother, a young lad … and a man who sees something so terrifying that his heart gives out. Yes, this is the very calm of a storm before an infestation. That includes mosquitoes as big as your hand, daddy longlegs 40 centimetres from wing tip to wing tip, monstrous spiders and huge beetles. The Crawling Terror is not the story for those with entomophobia. The newly regenerated Doctor and Clara have arrived at this village, faffing about with energy readings and ley-lines. The army are also called to the scene. Which is something the Doctor does not care for. Residents are told to stay indoors, as Ringstone quickly becomes populated with large insects. What follows are zombies, a church that does not transpire to be a place of safety, body swap horror and a return to the 1940’s, with a face from the present. I wasn’t sure about the zombies. I did like the reason for the insects wasn’t a typical chemical spill or experiments gone wrong. The story moved into unexpected territory. One that I appreciated more on re-reading. I liked all the characters. The Crawling Terror was also one of the first books that I read with this Doctor, and before I had watched an episode too (I think?) He is a gruff character, but it isn’t over the top. Nails down a chalkboard rude.
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‘Dibber? What's happened to your voice, lad?’ Glitz.
So Glitz and Mel have been sent for?
By the Master. Ahh-ha, he would have to pop up. ‘Oh, no! Now I really am finished.’ Doctor.
‘The oldest civilisation, decadent, degenerate and rotten to the core.’ Doctor.
‘The Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your 12th and final incarnation.’ Master. ‘And I may say, you do not improve with age.’
Why does he want Glitz with him but not Mel?
Kropp Razor poster behind him. Where is he? Where has the Doctor chased the fleeing Valeyard to?
Disembodied laughter, bells ringing and the Doctor bends over a barrel, only for 2 hands to reach out for his face.
‘Into the Matrix, where the only logic is that there isn't any logic.’ Doctor.
The Fantasy Factory
‘Therefore, most of what you saw was true.’ Master. ‘Then the young woman, the one who died, was that true?’ Inquisitor.
‘Then she lives?’ Inquisitor. ‘As a queen, set up on high by that warmongering fool Yrcanos.’ Master. Hang on, hang on. Peri lives, but how? And what? As a queen? Yrcanos? Why? She wouldn't have agreed to that unless she had no other choice.
‘Ah , I see.’ Glitz. ‘He humiliates you by throwing harpoons at me.’
Well, at least the Master seems to be enjoying himself.
‘This is a very odd waiting room.’ Doctor. ‘And where are the hopelessly out-of-date magazines?’ From the darkness of a drawing room/office to … the beach.
The hands again and the Doctor being sucked under.
Nerve gas. Well, it couldn't have just been sea mist could it?
‘I'm going in there.’ Mel says but the Keeper trips her up.
Oh, they've wandered right into … the Master’s TARDIS.
‘He’s merely being reduced to a catatonic state.’ Master.
The working TARDIS belonging to the Master materialises in the shape of a statue.
The explosive quill.
Is this all actually happening, Mel leading the Doctor out of the Matrix and back into the courtroom?
‘I would trust Mel with my life.’ Doctor.
So that was an illusion but Mel is determined to do something and isn’t tripped by the Keeper this time, she is off and into the Matrix.
But the Doctor already knew it was an illusion. Ohhhh.
Glitz. Master. Popplewick. We've got a barrel of slippery eels here.
Popplewick is the Valeyard.‘The performance was too grotesque to be real.’ Doctor.
A limbo atrophier. This is a bit daft.
Carrot juice and some exercise.
The Valeyard is wearing the Keeper’s robes.
‘My excursion will be into the future.’ Doctor.
2986. Inter-galactic liner.
Security Officer Rudge.
Stella Stora. Now that's a space name for a planet or whatever it is.
‘It’s your waistline I’m concerned about.’ Mel.
‘You make delicious coffee, Janet.’ What a creep.
‘Evil. There's evil in this place.’ Doctor.
Last time I crossed paths with the Doctor. ‘I found myself involved in a web of mayhem and intrigue.’ Commodore. That figures.
So the Professor has got something ‘the pods.’ and the robot was in that room last, so they're trying to prevent whatever the Professor is up to?
Oh, so part of the hold has been adapted for the professor to grow her plants or the pods.
Flipping hell. ‘We don't want you breaking your neck.’ Man is electrocuted, Mel screams, and some explosions pop off. That's a noisy end to the episode.
Do the guards really believe Mel would have killed Edwards?
Communications Officer Edwards’ body has gone and so has the guard.
‘You have the temperament of an overcautious rabbit.’
They're so quick to treat the Doctor as if he's daft. ‘Kill him? I'm trying to save him.’
Grenville, the passenger from Cabin 6.
Not Grenville, Hallet.
‘The bogus Mogarian did not switch on his translator.’ Doctor. Ohhh. I thought that was a mess up in production.
‘I wonder what came out of this.’ Doctor. I think you're about to find out.
No, not Mr Kimber. The old dude.
Well, that's some cliffhanger. Although Mel has to scream again.
A human with vines growing over half of their face. Then they open their eye. They're alive.
‘That monstrosity, as you call her, is my lab assistant, Ruth Baxter.’ All in the name of science, eh?
I really like Mel in this story. What has she found in Mr Kimber’s bathroom? Another leaf.
‘The murderer won't escape.’ Commodore. Sure, someone’s going to fuck up there.
I don't think Rudge knows enough to be able to tell you much.
The pods are fruit but they left that on Mogar. ‘We’re merely taking the shucks as an example.’ Doland. Sure.
The Vervoids speak. Good idea from Mel. But now she's been nabbed.
She's being wheeled off in a sweaty towel container.
Whew, saved just in time.
The Doctor and Mel discuss the murderer. Could he be a she? Lasky, the Professor? Or Janet?
‘It wouldn't have taken a man’s strength to lift my weight.’ Mel.
Sounds as if someone has been tampering with the Matrix.
‘We’re completely isolated.’ Commodore.
The Doctor is going to find himself in an incriminating position again. ‘I didn't hear the dinner gong.’ Doctor.
So Bruchner is trying to put a stop to this experiment, by driving the ship into the Black Hole of Tartarus.
Marsh gas? Is that what the Vervoids are spraying around?
So it was the Mogarians and … Rudge? What?!
But do they have anything to do with the Vervoids?
Because they’re a big concern.
Those weapons look like staple guns.
The Mogarians:‘They're just recovering stolen property.’ Rudge. And Rudge wants a share of it?
Rudge and the Mogarians have got a pick up. So that isn't good news if the Vervoids get wind of that. ‘Rudge, you're nothing but a squalid criminal.’ Lasky. ‘If I am, where does that place you, Professor?’ Rudge. Well, quite.
Mel, Doland and Janet are free, with a plan to round up some guards and break into the lounge, to free the hostages of Laskey, Commodore and Doctor but they want to warn them first. So Mel steps into the air ducts (which are more like inner corridors) and climbs through. I like this woman.
Somebody has fed toxic oxygen to the Mogarians on the bridge.
Rudge has run into the Vervoids.
‘Murder?’ Doland says so innocently. Keep him in sight. Of course, Mel gets caught rifling through Lasky's locker in the gym. Looking for that tape recording.
So Doland threw the tape to the Doctor and in catching it the Doctor put down the weapon. ‘Not that it’ll do you much good. I've wiped it.’ Doland. Bastards, the pair of them. Both Doland and Lasky.
‘Vision? Youre talking about slave labour.’ Doctor. ‘The most enduring and spectacular empire, Rome, was built on slave labour.’ Doland. ‘Came to a pretty unpleasant end, though.’ Doctor.
‘I took the precaution of disarming it.’ Doctor. Of course he did. He's no fool after all.
‘They'll spare no one.’ Doctor. ‘I have to try.’ Lasky.
Lasky isn't spared by the Vervoids.
So a man grapples with a sheet of metal and a Vervoid, which eventually falls into the Pulverizer but there's another, waiting to kill him, behind him.
The Vervoids are closing in. There aren't many people left.
‘It’s a matter of perspective, Mel.’ Doctor. ‘In your house in Pease Pottage, you had a large garden. What did you do with the plants and weeds you uprooted?’‘Put them on the compost heap.’ Mel. ‘They’re obeying instinct.’ Doctor. ‘Like migrating birds or salmon swimming relentlessly upstream to spawn even though they might die. A compulsive following of the life cycle.’
Plunged into darkness and defeated by the seasons all at once.
‘The charge must now be genocide.’ Valeyard.
Episode 3 is where Terror of the Vervoids gets going, mainly through Mel and her close shave with death. The Rudge and the Mogarians side plot muddied the main plot, so we didn’t really get to find out more about the Vervoids and their plans. They mainly spend the story skulking around. Doland and Lasky basically walk into their arms, to be murdered. I liked the design of the Vervoids. I didn’t like their voices. The story is set solely in the studio and it feels very 80’s, with the gymnasium. The lounge was very bright too and with furniture that looks very much like something from the past, instead of the future where this story takes place. Mel and the Doctor’s relationship was cute. I liked that Mel and the Doctor already know each other. This story isn’t introducing Mel to us. There is a reference to a Pease Pottage, so that’s maybe where they met.
Am also struggling with if this is the Doctor’s defence, surely he could have chosen something, anything, from his adventures in time and space that made him look … heroic? The Valeyard certainly seems to have made his mind up about the Doctor.
‘Sit down and shut up.’
Ringed planet in the distance and pink surround. Nice look.
I like the purple uniform.
The skedaddle test.
‘Looks like a man, acts like a wolf.’ Crikey, what planet have these 2 landed on?
‘Well, they live here. Thoros Beta’s Sil’s home planet. Didn't you know?’ Doctor. Well, I didn't.
‘Only because you didn't tell me, Doctor.’ and nor did, Peri.
Poor woman, having to return to her last unpleasant encounter with Sil.
‘I am Yrcanos, King of the Krontep, Lord of the Vingten. Conqueror of the Tonkonp Empire, but you no doubt know this.’
What's happening here, Yrcanos was meant to distract the guards and then? Peri has the weapon and then flees after firing it at Sil, while the Doctor remains.
The turncoat Doctor.
So they need to transfer Lord Kiv’s brain because his skull isn't big enough and now they need a donor. Is that either going to be the Doctor or Peri?
This is a creepy setting, dark and dingy
Matrona. Gloves to the elbows and a sparkly outfit.
‘She may have been trying to poison us all.’ Doctor. ‘Of course! The repulsive one.’ Sil. what a horrid situation for Peri to be in. She just wants to leave! And what is happening with the Doctor?
Peri has been chained to the Rock of Sorrows.
‘I refute any implication that I'm barmy.’ Doctor.
Peri eats and then asks ‘what is it?’
Imagine being Peri and having to pull Dorf and Yrcarnos apart. I wouldn't bother.
‘Sil, stop gyrating your throat.’ Crozier. Excuse me, what?
‘I can put any brain in any body anywhere.’ I don't like the way Crozier is eyeing up the Doctor whilst he says that.
Cardiac arrest. Blimey. I like that Crozier has to finish his cuppa before attempting resuscitation.
A Spice Trader?
‘How has he been turned into an old man?’ not another experiment of Crozier and co?
Kiv’s reaction seeing Sil as he wakes after brain surgery. A look of horror. Haha. ‘Have I died and gone to the great Plague Halls of Mogdana?’
The body of a fisherman and Kiv hates seawater. Hardly considerate, is it?
What is the Doctor doing here? Yrcanos is trying to start an uprising, Peri is tagging along and the Doctor is - what? Trying to find information, for the hell of it? If he hangs around long enough he might find himself having brain surgery.
‘We must transfer Kiv’s brain to someone else without delay.’ Crozier. There we go then. The Doctor is fancied for that.
So the Doctor is unsuitable. ‘What about your companion, Doctor?’ Crozier. ‘Oh, Peri? Quite unsuitable. Female. Oh, silly, flibbity-jibbity, hopeless.’ Yeah, nice try, Doctor. ‘Why not examine her?’ Crozier’s assistant chimes in. ‘I think I’ll do that.’ Crozier. So the Doctor has to find someone that isn't Peri.
‘A friend.’ the Doctor whispers. So the Doctor is just staying on Sil’s and Kiv’s and co’s good side? Makes sense.
And what a shocker, Peri is a suitable candidate for Kiv’s brain.
‘His name is Dorf and you are scum.’ Yrcanos. Now there's a good line. ‘No. Actually, I am known as the Doctor.’
Is that a Terileptil or Barney the Dinosaur?
‘Everyone has a point nowadays. I am a man of action, not reason.’ Yrcanos. ‘Don't worry, you'll see plenty of action.’ Doctor. This is brilliant. ‘Then lead on. Oh, but first, I must find my bride-to-be.’ Yrcanos. ‘Haven't got time for you to go courting.’ Doctor. Haha. ‘I am talking of the Earth woman. Perpugilliam of the Brown.’ Yrcanos.
So Peri has been bound and gagged and now they're going to shave her head. Then transfer Kiv’s brain into her’s. Fucking hell. She was right earlier on to be concerned after being turned into a bird the last time she met Sil.
‘Whatever made you take me out of time when you did?’ Doctor. So the Time Lords transported the Doctor en route to Peri’s rescue to the courts.
So no brain, the contents of Kiv’s brain have been transferred onto Peri’s.
‘Mentally, she no longer exists.’ Crozier.
Time bubbled Yrcanos found Peri, saw that Peri was no longer there and
‘You killed Peri.’ Doctor. ‘We had to act.’ The Inquisitor.
These Time Lords are demonic. Why is the Doctor on trial? ‘Peri died, Doctor, because you abandoned her.’ Valeyard. How do you figure that out? You took him out of the picture.
Mindwarp looked good. The first episode was claustrophobic, with its dark and dank looking corridors. That the characters seemed to spend a large amount of time running around. Particularly in Part 3, I thought the acting and the dialogue were ropey. It was good too in Part 3 we got less interruption from the court scenes. Nabil Shaban as Sil was good. I’m not sure about how Christopher Ryan played the part of Kiv. Some of the other characters were good too, Patrick Ryecart as Crozier, Brian Blessed as Yrcanos and Trevor Laird as Frax.
The Doctor seemingly turned ‘bad’ was not as engaging as when it was done in the Tom Baker story The Invasion of Time. General batshittery in that story, whereas here it isn’t hard to believe because this Doctor has done questionable things in some of his other stories. It’s *shrugs shoulders* and then it all flips around again anyway in the fourth episode. I liked the fourth episode.
‘The accused? Do you mean me?’ I think so, Doctor.
Ravalox. Aw, look, the Doctor and Peri underneath an umbrella.
Dibber and Glitz.
Glitz has got a lot of lines here.
Marble Arch ‘and they wrote in English?’ Peri.
So he’s left Peri somewhere. That doesn't sound good.
Meanwhile Peri has walked into the arms of 2 masked people.
‘I have an uncanny knack with ageing females, Dibber.’ Glitz.
‘Water thief! Water thief! Protect your water.’ Wow, I was not expecting that.
Marb. the Immortal.
‘UK Habitats of the Canadian Goose by HM Stationery Office.’
The helmets on those guards, dripping paint effect
‘I shall provide some excellent husbands for you.’ That's kind. ‘Husbands? Plural?’ Peri. Yep.
Selection of young men.
So on the surface are those people and down there are these people ruled over by a robot The Immortal.
‘It is said The Immortal eats them.’ That look the Doctor gave Balazar.
6 husbands. No thank you.
‘Do you think an old hag like you can bring me down?’ Glitz. Well, these 2 are getting along very well.
The Doctor getting his pockets searched.
‘You, Humbug, whatever your name is, hold that. And you, Handbag, finger on the end there.’ Very good, Doctor. Nice escape too.
‘I really think this could be the end.’ Doctor. Sure, for the purpose of the cliffhanger.
So they are all thrown back into jail, plus the Doctor and then The Immortal’s robot comes crashing through the wall, wraps its tendrils around the Doctor and nabs him. What does Dibber want with Peri anyway? Urging her to come with him and Glitz, instead of helping the Doctor.
Don't think the Doctor and Glitz quite hit it off.
Alternative names the Doctor has called the Valeyard, farmyard, scrapyard …
‘You ignorant dink.’
‘Oh. What are you hunting?’ Doctor. ‘You.’ Merdeen.
Oh wow, that’s done for Katryca Queen of the Free.
‘Do you think they were nicking recipes for making chutney?’ Glitz.
5 rounds rapid.
So Peri was trying to go and help the Doctor but instead the Immortal one believes the Doctor is distracting him, while Peri - does what?
Oh dear, computer effects and Balazar gets gunged.
I enjoyed the look and feel of this story. Especially the escalator that leads to the underground. I liked that link between the inside and outside. I liked the costumes too and the design of the two robots, plus the prop of the umbrella in the opening episode. Something the next incarnation of the Doctor would adopt.
I did get fatigued by episode 3 because it was more of the same as the first 2 episodes. I liked the court scenes but they did drag and become samey too. I loved the Doctor in this story. Tony Selby as Glitz was fun to watch.