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!
Holmes had a knack for writing clever (if not always entirely original) stories filled with colourful characters and dialogue Steven Moffat would sell his children for. Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to find any of that in ‘The Krotons’.
Even at its best this is the series at its absolute blandest. The plot is nothing we haven’t seen a dozen times before. In fact ‘The Krotons’ could almost be a textbook example of how to write an average Doctor Who story. The Doctor and his companions arrive on a planet to find one group of mean aliens enslaving another group of peaceful doormats. Quicker than you can say ‘reverse the polarity’ the bad guys are defeated, the slaves are freed and our heroes wave goodbye before departing in their trusty blue box.
And as for the dialogue, for the most part it’s merely functional with only a few choice quotes. To be fair, this was only Holmes first script for the show so it is understandable and completely forgivable that he hasn’t yet found his niche. In time he’d be the king but for now he’s merely a stranger in a strange land trying to find his way.
Notes and Quotes
--Zoe seems to have developed the same affinity for hypnotically shorts skirts as Amy Pond.
--Philip Madoc had previously appeared (alongside Bernard Cribbins) in the Peter Cushing film, Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 AD.
--Zoe’s smug little grin at gaining the highest score on the Krotons’ learning machines is utterly adorable.
--The TARDIS has a Hostile Action Displacement System that causes the TARDIS to automatically dematerialize if under attack.
--This is the Krotons only appearance in the television series but they would latter feature in the Big Finish audio story ‘Return of the Krotons’ with the Sixth Doctor and Charley Pollard.
Beta: It is not patriotism to lead people into a war they cannot win.
Seleris: Doctor, you mean that thing was sent out to attack you and only you?
The Doctor: Yes, so it would seem. It’s rather flattering, isn’t it?
The Doctor: Great jumping gobstoppers, what's that?