Why am I thinking of food?

Mike Kelt, Eric Saward, Tony Selby and Fraser Hines on the BFI panel

This weekend was the sixth of the monthly screenings of “Doctor Who” at the BFI. I was again lucky enough to get a ticket and joined a group of fellow podcasters and, on this occasion, writer of Full Circle, Andrew Smith to watch the story chosen to represent the Colin Baker era of the show. The choice of The Two Doctors was a surprise, as it is not a very representative story. It features a lot of overseas filming and features Patrick Troughton and Fraser Hines returning to their roles as the Doctor and Jamie respectively.

There are great performances from most of the cast. I was particularly impressed with John Stratton as Shockeye. Troughton’s performance as the Doctor is taken over by Androgum DNA is gorgeously gluttonous. Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant portray the relationship between the Doctor and Peri with more depth than expected.

Andrew had pointed out before the screening that Peri never actually sees a Sontaran in the story. I had that in mind when I was watching it and soon realised that the Sontarans might as well not be there at all. The motivation of Group Marshal Stike seems to be entirely to return to his battle fleet in time for the next big push, something he could have accomplished with much less effort by planning his route more carefully in the first place.

Colin Baker's Doctor Who costume

The director, Peter Moffatt, seems to acknowledge the pointlessness of the Sontarans to the story by denying them a big reveal shot. He even cuts away at the moment Varl removes his helmet to reveal the potato-shaped head beneath. They’re just… there. With no explanation as to why Chessene needs them, or vice versa. At one point the invasion force are both reduced to fetching and carrying for their Androgum allies.

A brief half-time discussion on Colin’s famous multi-coloured costume was enhanced by having it there. As a bonus we also got to see Tom Baker’s shirt and waistcoat from “The Leisure Hive”.

Unfortunately, neither Colin nor Nicola were able to attend the screening due to professional commitments. Nicola sent a sweet message that was read out at the start of the screening, but the event felt lower key than all the others as a result of their absence.  The discussion panel was made up of Mike Kelt, visual effects designer, Eric Saward, script editor, Tony Selby, who played Sabalom Glitz in three stories, and Fraser Hines. (One gets the impression that the story was chosen mostly to allow Fraser to be part of the panel, which he was unable to do for the Troughton screening.)

Still, it was a fun way to spend a Saturday and we recorded another special episode of The Doctor Who Podcast afterwards, which will be available soon from their Facebook page. (Our review of May’s BFI screening is still available.)

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