The Black Hole

"If there's any justice at all, the black hole will be your grave!"

The Black Hole, Disney’s blatant attempt to cash in on the sci-fi craze of the late ‘70s, is a film that wants to be many things. Actually, scratch that. It wants to be three distinct things. It wants to be Star Wars. It wants to be 2001: A Space Odyssey. And it wants to be a Disney movie for all the family. Sadly it fails to be any of those. It’s not rousing enough to be Star Wars, not nearly as cerebral as 2001 and often far too dark for magical kingdom of Disney.

Doctor Who: Terror of the Autons Review

“The human body has a basic weakness. One which I shall exploit to assist in the destruction of humanity”

Back when he was the undisputed overlord of the entire Doctor Who universe, Russell T. Davies was often heard to say that he liked to reboot the series at the start of every season, treating each season opener like it was ‘Rose’ all over again (which explains the high turnover of companions). Barry Letts did a similar thing with ‘Terror of the Autons’, effectively rebooting the entire series to better suit his idea of how it should be.

Doctor Who: Inferno Review

“Listen to that! It's the sound of the planet screaming out its rage!”

For a science fiction series with such a long and diverse history as Doctor Who it is somewhat surprising that ‘Inferno’ is the only time in its original 26-year run that everyone’s favourite Time Lord ever ventured into a “parallel space-time continuum”. Can’t understand why they never did it again because ‘Inferno’ is very good indeed.

Doctor Who: The Ambassadors of Death Review

“Something took off from Mars”

I want to love ‘The Ambassadors of Death’ but find it so damn difficult. It's certainly not for lack of spectacle. For once it actually looks like the production team were allowed to spend some serious cash on the show, with action sequences that almost have an epic quality to them. In the first two episodes alone we have massive shootout in an abandoned factory followed by a truck hijack involving a helicopter. Doctor Who has never felt this big budget before. Even the model shots of the space modules, although pretty basic by today’s standards, aren’t as embarrassingly bad as a lot of the special effects on this show tend to be.

Xena: Warrior Princess - Sins of the Past

“You must know by now you can never escape your past. Xena, celebrate you dark side. Don't run away from it”

Like many I first started watching Xena: Warrior Princess because I loved the cheesy fun of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. And like so many more I ended up being an even bigger fan of the warrior princess than the son of Zeus. Although both shows possessed the same tongue-in-cheek sense of humour Xena could often be a much darker, more complex and character driven series. Xena was the Batman (and Wonder Woman) to Herc’s ancient world Superman. It was also cheesier than the entire dairy section at Sainsbury’s as the writers were never afraid to indulge even their loopiest ideas.

Doctor Who: The Silurians Review

“Unless you Silurians tell us what you want the humans will destroy you!”

With ‘Doctor Who and The Silurians’ (to give it its full and accidental title) Malcolm Hulke takes the alien invasion story and flips it on its head. What could’ve so easily been nothing more than a simple tale of human battling lizard men becomes a morally complex thriller thanks to Hulke’s intelligent storytelling and sharp characterization. It's a masterpiece and one of my personal favourites from Worzel’s tenure.

Doctor Who: Spearheads From Space Review

“We deal with the odd, the unexplained, anything on Earth... or beyond”

After six years of monochrome adventuring through time and space ‘Spearheads from Space’ sees Doctor Who undergo a complete transformation. Now broadcast in glorious colour (assuming, that is, you had a colour television in 1970) the entire format of the show was radically altered in order to keep production costs down as well as make the series grittier and more grown up. Taking inspiration from the likes of Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass serials outgoing producer Derrick Sherwin wanted to get away from ‘wobbly jellies in outer space’ by bringing the show crashing back down to earth.

Doctor Who: The War Games Review

"NO!!!! Stop! You're making me giddy! No, you can't do this to me! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No!"

Epic in both length and content ‘The War Games’ is, in this humble fan’s opinion, the best Patrick Troughton story that still exists in its entirety. Bringing to an end one era of the show while neatly setting the stage for the next, this would be the final story in black and white, the last story of the 1960s and final regular appearance of Second Doctor and his ever faithful companions, Jamie and Zoe.

Doctor Who: The Seeds of Death Review

“Your leader will be angry if you kill me! I’m a genius”

The Patrick Troughton years were the beginning of the monster boom on Doctor Who. The historical episodes, a regular fixture of the previous era, had been phase out and replaced by numerous ‘base under siege’ stories as the Doctor frequently battled Daleks, Cybermen, Yeti, Macra, Quarks, Krotons, Cybermen again and the Ice Warriors.

Doctor Who: The Krotons Review

“The Doctor’s almost as clever as I am”

Robert Holmes isn’t just my favourite Doctor Who writer, he is without a shadow of a doubt the finest writer this show has ever had (past, present or future) and I will gladly fight anyone who says differently.

What was that? Russell T. Davies? Right, you, outside now!

Doctor Who: The Invasion Review

"My body may be cybernetic but my mind stays human!"

Playing out like the world’s longest and cheapest Bond movie, ‘The Invasion’ is probably the most iconic and well-loved Cybermen story. As far as I’m concerned it’s unquestionably their finest hour, made all the better by the fact the cybernetic dullards from Mondas are hardly in it.

Doctor Who: The Mind Robber Review

“Well, we’re nowhere. It’s as simple as that”

When I first saw ‘The Mind Robber’ at the wee age of very small I thought it was absolutely brilliant. A fantastical and atmospheric tale filled with some unforgettable imagery. But I eventually grew up and with age comes cynicism. Now I can’t help seeing ‘The Mind Robber’ for what it really is; a load of surrealist nonsense that could’ve only been produced in the 1960s

Doctor Who: The Dominators Review

“Shall we destroy? Shall we destroy?”

One of the great tragedies of Doctor Who is the loss of numerous episodes from the show’s monochrome days due to the BBC’s insane junking policy during the 1970s (cheap gits wouldn’t fork out for new tapes so they just recorded over all the old ones). Patrick Troughton certainly came off the worst. To date only six of his stories still exist in their entirety. Eleven are incomplete and four are completely lost, unlikely to ever be recovered. Season six (Troughton’s last as the Doctor) is the only Second Doctor season that remains more or less intact with only two incomplete stories. ‘The Dominators’ was the opening story of that season and by Rassillon’s beard is it dull.