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Doctor Who - Survival

episode 156

UK 1989
produced by
John Nathan-Turner for BBC
directed by Alan Wareing
starring Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Anthony Ainley, Julian Holloway, William Barton, Lisa Bowerman, Sakuntala Ramance, Gareth Hale, Norman Pace
written by Rona Munroe, script editor: Andrew Cartmel, music by Dominic Glynn

TV-series
Doctor Who, Doctor Who (Sylvester McCoy), Doctor Who (classic series), The Master, The Master (Anthony Ainley)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Doctor Who (Sylvester McCoy) takes his companion Ace (Sophie Aldred) back to her hometown, a typical boring English village, but when Ace wants to visit her old mates, she finds them all gone ... and it has something to do with cats. And soon enough, the Doctor and Ace are teleported away to the planet of the Cheetah-people who just like to feed on humans. Soon enough though, the Doctor and Ace find a few young people and a totally useless ex-SAS-man (Julian Holloway) and try to form some kind of resistance, while the Doctor also tries to find out what's going on - and he discovers the planet is on the brink of (self-)destruction since it seems the fighting of the Cheetah people amongst each other brings it closer and closer to doom ... and the Cheetah people fight a lot. And the Doctor finds out who's behind the Cheetah people: his old enemy, the Master (Anthony Ainley), who has no means of getting off the planet and is slowly turning into a Cheetah man himself.

The Doctor however figures that whoever becomes one of the Cheetah people (this is slightly contagious, actually) has the power to teleport him-/herself and others back to earth. Soon enough, the Master has picked one of the Doctor's crew, Midge (William Barton), to be his teleporter, while the Doctor has to realize that of all people his companion Ace is turning into a Cheetah woman as well.

Ultimately both the Master and Midge and the Doctor and his party get back to earth, where the Doctor successfully stops the Master from doing more evil - by ultimately teleporting him back to the dying planet of the Cheetah people -, defeats Midge in a motorbike duel, and makes Ace, the Cheetah-human hybrid, all human again ...

 

The very last episode of the classic Doctor Who-series, and it ably shows what had gone wrong with the show over the years: The masks of the Cheetah people are simply put a disgrace, not only do they look less than frightening, they look cute and more than anything else resemble a cuddly toy while not at all being convincing - something that really wouldn't do anymore in the late 1980's -, the outdoor sets of the planet of the Cheetah people simply lack any kind of otherworldly atmosphere, they look like the British countryside - which is of course what they are -, the story telling hides an interesting concepts under layers of convoluted plot devices that don't lead anywhere in particular, and the direction is just less than interesting.

Still, the episode as a whole is not all bad, it does feature some nice ideas and Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred carry it along pretty well, it has just got so many shortcomings that one can't help but understand why the program was cancelled.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD