OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 665
STORY NUMBER: 150
TRANSMITTED: Monday 12 October 1987
WRITER: Stephen Wyatt
DIRECTOR: Nicholas Mallett
SCRIPT EDITOR: Andrew Cartmel
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 5.2 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Paradise Towers
The Doctor's execution is delayed by news from a Caretaker. One of the Red Kangs, No Exit, is claimed by the cleaners and taken to the basement. The Doctor uses the Caretakers own rulebook against them to escape and steals their keycards. Pex claims he has been sent to Paradise Towers to protect people. They are captured by the Blue Kangs while the Doctor is reunited with the Red Kangs. He tells them the Caretakers are being killed too and that the bodies are being taken to the basement and shows them how to operate the drinks machine using coins bearing the mark of the great architect Kroagnon. The Blue Kangs tell Pex is a coward who didn't want to go and fight in the war which most of the people went to fight in. The elderly residents lure Mel in for Tea as the Caretakers start a sweep of the building. The Caretakers find the Red Kang base and start to cut their way in. Tilda & Tabby capture Mel in a net intending to make her stay forever....
Guessed what the elderly residents are up to yet? The clues are in the dialogue which is rather good throughout. Yes the scene with the caretakers seems silly but they are meant to be bumbling idiots completely enslaved to their rulebook, and the Hitleresque Chief Caretaker. Unfortunately most of the actors playing them make them seem a little too independent and free thinking. Pex too also is possibly mis cast Howard Cooke not having the physique to suggest the Ramboesque looking figure that the story implies. A thin chap just makes Pex look like a bit of a fraud making unbelievable claims from the start.
Onto the cast! If you don't know who Richard Briers, the Chief Caretaker, is then you've never watched any sitcoms at all. In the seventies he starred in The Good Life and in the eighties Ever Decreasing Circles alongside Penelope Wilton who played his wife there but we now know her as Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North in the current series of Doctor Who. Briers real life wife is Ann Davies, who was Jenny in Dalek Invasion of Earth. He gets some flack for his slightly OTT performance in this story but for proof he can act in a serious role watch the Inspector Morse episode Death Is Now My Neighbour where he's truly creepy or the Midsomer Murders episode Death's Shadow. Clive Merrison, playing the Deputy Chief Caretaker, is known to us as Jim Callum, one of the few survivors of Tomb of the Cybermen while one of his underlings William Perrie was one half of the Myrka in Warriors of the Deep as well as being one half of Dobbin in Rentaghost. There's two close brushes with Doctor Who in the cast: Elizabeth Spriggs, playing Tabby, was cast as Chessene in The Two Doctors before backing out and Julie Brennon, Red Kang Fire Escape, was the wife of Turlough actor Mark Strickson. Brenda Bruce, as Tilda, is another Doctor Who actor with Jeeves and Wooster to here name where she played Aunt Dhalia while Judy Cornwell, as Maddy, was in Keeping Up Appearances with Clive Swift (Jobel in Revelation of the Daleks) and Geoffrey Hughes (Mr Popplewick in Trial of a Timelord 13 & 14). Catherine Cusack, playing Blue Kang Leader, comes from a famous acting family courtesy of her father Cyril Cusack and her half sisters Sinead, Sorcha & Niamh. One of the other Red Kangs, Nisha Nayar, returns as a computer programmer in Bad Wolf & Parting of the Way in the first season of new Doctor Who.