Doctor Who – Star Trek – Voyager – The Simpsons – tape 2083

Opening this tape, on UK Gold, Doctor Who and a real classic from Tom Baker’s era, The Horror of Fang Rock. How’s this for an opening shot?

Fang Rock

Lovely, dark brooding lighthouse miniature, with a hot pink video overlay effect that seems to have escaped from Top of the Pops.

This man looks like he’s never even seen a telescope before, let alone used one.

Telescope

The three hale and hearty fellows manning the lighthouse are all doing west country accents, which is going to be delightful. Why doesn’t Doctor Who apply the same logic to the UK that it does to alien planets and have everyone speaking with received pronunciation? It would save us from some of these attempts.

Lighthouse Keepers

The chap on the left looks like he’s just come from a hard day modelling for The Joy of Sex. And the chap in the middle is clearly a cheaper version of Captain Baines off of The Onedin Line.

The Doctor and Leela arrive nearby. “You said I would like Brighton. Well I do not.” “Does this look like Brighton? It’s not even Hove. It could be Worthing.”

The electric light in the lighthouse keeps malfunctioning, and then Mr Joy of Sex is menaced by a green-tinted white noise vignette.

Green Tinted White Noise Vignette

Shortly after, The Doctor and Leela arrive at the lighthouse. They offer to help – Leela changes into more practical clothes, hence the woolly jumper. The Doctor finds poor old Joy of Sex man dead, of a massive electric shock, next to the generator. Seems a little harsh to kill off one fo the main cast when there’s so few people, but fear not, soon he’s spotted shambling around.

The Doctor and Leela

And in case you thought there weren’t enough people to sustain four episodes, a ship crashes on the rocks in the fog, handily depositing more victims.

There’s three of them, posh people this time. One of them is Lord Palmerdale, who is desperate to reach London before the markets open, so you know he’s going to be insufferable to the lighthouse crew. He’s travelling with a member of parliament, Skinsale, and they have some kind of enmity going on. If Palmerdale gets to London he’s going to use the information that he’s bought from Skinsale to make a killing on the stock market.

Leela sees something green moving around outside the lighthouse. Investigating, The Doctor finds dead fish, electrocuted.

Pretty soon, the old lighthouse keeper is attacked, but then he’s still walking around. Well, shambling, mostly. And glowing green.

Glowing Reuben

Whatever it is lurking around the lighthouse is trying to get in by climbing to the top. Not the show’s finest hour when it comes to alien design, but also not its worst.

Green Alien Blob

Lord Palmerdale is unlucky enough to be at the top, and gets zapped.

RIP Lord Palmerdale

Skinsale had overheard Palmerdale asking one of the lighthouse keepers to send a message by telegraph, so he destroyed the telegraph to stop him. The Doctor tells them that there’s no way to contact the mainland.

I think, at this point, perhaps the Doctor should have suggested they retreat to the Tardis. Or fixed the telegraph with his sonic screwdriver. But for this story he just laments that they’re all trapped there with the monster.

Pretty soon, almost everybody else is dead, and the alien, in the guise of lighthouse keeper Reuben, confronts the Doctor on the stairs.

“We can abandon this ridiculous shape” says alien Reuben before changing into its not ridiculous at all original shape.

Reuben the Rutan

It’s a Rutan scout, the implacable enemy of the Sontarans. They want to establish Earth as a battlefront against the Sontarans, which would be bad for the rest of us.

After the last of the humans is killed, the Doctor and Leela manage to kill the Rutan, but there’s another Rutan ship on the way.

Rutan ship

But the Doctor finally does something proactive to destroy the Rutan ship. Best effects shot in the story.

Zapped by a lighthouse

This is quite a grim story, with every other character apart from the Doctor and Leela ending up dead. Still, at least Leela’s eyes change colour at the end. I presume this was something to avoid Louise Jameson having to wear contact lenses any more.

After this, recording switches to Sky, and an episode of Star Trek Voyager called State of Flux. Chakotay’s girlfriend, Ceska, steals some food from the galley to make him soup. He’s cross about this.

The ship gets a distress call from a Kazon ship. There’s one survivor, and a piece of technology there which seems to be federation property. Tuvok thuinks someone from the ship has been passing secrets to the Kazon. Naturally, Chakotay’s girlfriend comes under suspicion.

It turns out that she’s not a Bajoran, as eveyone thought, but a physically altered Cardassian. And she escapes to a Kazon ship.

Ceska

Next, The Simpsons and One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish. Homer thinks he’s dying because he’s eaten Fugu at a sushi restaurant.

This is followed by Marge Be Not Proud in which Bart shoplifts a game, which affects the way he’s treated by his family.

Thrillhouse

I find this episode almost unbearably sad.

After this, recording continues with the start of Beverly Hills 90210. The tape ends during this programme.

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One comment

  1. Doctor Who was pretty ruthless in this era, and Fang Rock is one of the best examples, as you say the guest cast are completely wiped out. You can’t imagine the current incarnation killing everyone in the episode apart from the Doctor and his assistant!

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