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Doctor Who - The Claws of Axos

episode 57

UK 1971
produced by
Barry Letts for BBC
directed by Michael Ferguson
starring Jon Pertwee, Katy Manning, Roger Delgado, Nicholas Courtney, Paul Grist, Peter Bathurst, Donald Hewlett, David Savile, Derek Ware, Bernard Holley, Tim Pigott-Smith, John Levene, Richard Franklin
written by Bob Baker, Dave Martin, script editor: Terrance Dicks, music by Dudley Simpson

TV-series
Doctor Who, Doctor Who (Jon Pertwee), Doctor Who (classic series), The Master, The Master (Roger Delgado), Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Chinn (Peter Bathurst), a pompous patriotic politician, tries to take over UNIT (United Nations Intelligence Task force - the arm of the UN that deals with alien invasions) & basically debase their scientific advisor, Doctor Who (Jon Pertwee), when a UFO shows up over England that seems to have no problems evading the missiles shot at it & lands near a nuclear powerplant.

Chinn, the Doctor & UNIT's commander, brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney) soon follow an invitation of the UFO's crew, the Axons & soon find themselves inside the spaceship, an organically grown machine called Axos that, so the Axons say, did run out of fuel. And as exchange for a permit to stay and refuel, the Axons offer the world Axonite, a miraculous material that can reproduce and multiply any kind of matter needed - which would essentially end all the world's food problems ... Chinn is fascinated by this proposal & desperately wants to secure the world rights to Axonite for Britain, only the Doctor wonders how a spaceship with such a mineral aboard can possibly run out of fuel ...

Of course, the Axons motives are ulterior, they just want to suck the earth dry of any energy, any life, & for that need to cover the world in as much Axonite as possible ... & who has suggested earth as a prime victim to suck dry to them ? Why, the MAster (Roger Delgado), Doctor Who's arch-nemesis of course ... but unfortunately, the Axons dont treat their allies all that well & have made him their prisoner ...

After much ado, the Doctor has found out that the Axons, Axonite 6 the spaceship Axos itself are all one and the same thing, & this thing, under a friendly pretense, builds a ring around the world to suck it dry, banking on mankind's greed for Axos, and now, with the Doctor & the Master both being Time Lords (an alien species that is able to timetravel) they figure they can find out the principles of timetravelling to have access to more planets, in all different times ...

The Doctor & the Master soon form an uneasy alliance against Axos, but eventually the Doctor pretends to switch sides & in his timemachine, the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space), he sends Axos into a timeloop - earth saved, only the Master has somehow managed to escape.

Katy Manning as the Doctor's assistant Jo Grant is relegated to a mere supporting role, Paul Grist plays an American agent trying to capture the Master, but has little to do with the actual plot.

 

A Doctor Who story that somehow falls in two: On one hand there's some quite biting political satire (in the conetext of a kids sci-fi-series that is) about a pompous politician - Chinn - who is self-absorbed enough to make a mess out of everything without understanding in the slightest. And then there's of course another wonderfully camp performance of Roger Delgado as the Master ... but on the other hand there's a terribly messed up script that seems to take a different direction every few minutes, & dropping narrative threads rather at will, which every now & again makes one wonder how difficult it can be to tell an alien invasionn story ... a pity rather because the episode had its promises.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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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