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Doctor Who (Jon Pertwee) wants to take his companion Jo (Katy Manning)
to a distant exotic planet in his time-and-space-machine the TARDIS ...
but apparently, he is only abnle to take her to some cruiseship, earth
1926 - where he and Jo are arrested as stowaways soon enough (but of
course manage to escape soon enough as well). The Doctor figures there's
something terribly wrong right away, but is only sure when the ship is
attacked by a dinosaur from a completely different era. Plus, the events
on the ship seem to repeat itself literally endlessly every few hours.
course there's really something wrong with the cruiseship, which isn't on
earth at all but in the miniscope of carnival showman Vorg (Leslie Dwyer)
- an advanced device that allows to shrink beings to microscopic size and
keep them inside to be watched like in the zoo. Presently, Vorg and his
assistant Shirna (Cheryl Hall) have landed on Inter Minor though, a
dictatorship run by bureaucrats, where the officials simply don't know
what to do with the carnival folks ... until one of them, Kalik (Michael
Wisher) finds a way to use the miniscope to its own end, by releasing the
Drashigs - terrible carnivorous monsters kept inside the machine - onto
the planet in order to overthrow the dictator and install himself in his
The Doctor and Jo soon find a way off the ship and into the
inner workings of the machine, but while trying to find their way out of
the miniscope altogether, they accidently stumble upon the world of the
Drashigs, who soon enough follow them first inside the inner workings of
the machine, then even onto the cruiseship, creating massive havoc ...
the Doctor makes it out of the miniscope, and just time too, since the
systems of the machine already begin to fail, and Vorg has no idea how to
repair the thing (the Doctor of course does). In the meantime, Kalik has
already sabotaged the Erradicator, Inter Minor's sole weapon of defense,
and has made preparations to release the Drashigs ... and while the Doctor
goes back into the miniscope to save Jo, the Drashigs finally make their
way to the outer world and create chaos - and even kill Kalik in the
process - until of all people Vorg is able to fix the Erradicator and get
rid of the Drashigs, then saves the Doctor from the miniscope just in time
- who in turn sends all of the miniscope's specimens back to their own
time and space.
And while the Doctor and Jo finally get on their way to
their intended destiantion, Vorg, whose miniscope got destroyed in the
finale, cooks up a scheme to make a living on Inter Minor - involving
three nutshells and a pea ...
Later Doctor Who regular Ian
Marter plays the stward of the cruiseship by the way.
Granted, the sets of this episode
are terribly unbelievable, the special effects are almost ridiculous, and
the costumes are laughable - and yet this is one of the best Doctor
Who-episodes ever, thanks to an immensely clever screenplay that
mixes comedy, horror and science fiction concepts light-handedly and makes
a completely far-fetched plot perfectly plausible in the process thanks to
an ingenious build-up, original plot elements, some intelligent satire and
a brilliant way to bring together its two seperate story arcs (the Doctor
and Jo inside the miniscope, Vorg, Kalik and company on Inter Minor) in