Saturday 6 October 2012

683 Silver Nemesis Part Three

EPISODE: Silver Nemesis Part Three
TRANSMITTED: Wednesday 07 December 1988
WRITER: Kevin Clarke
DIRECTOR: Chris Cloug
SCRIPT EDITOR: Andrew Cartmel
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 5.2 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Cybermen Box Set

Ace's tape stop allowing the Cybermen to communicate with their fleet again. The Doctor confronts the Cybermen briefly uniting the statue with the bow and activating it. They leave in the Tardis. DeFlores & Karl escape using some gold DeFlores was carrying. The Doctor goes back to 1638 and continues the chess game, explaining to Ace that the calculations would be stolen and seizing a supply of gold coins. Lady Peniforte & Richard hitch a lift back to Windsor with an American, Mrs Remington. The Tardis arrives in the hanger and the statue, following the bow arrives. The Nemesis statue explains to Ace that it has had many forms. The Cybermen attack the hanger, but Ace fights back firing the gold coins at them with a catapult killing them. The Doctor returns Nemesis to the "comet" rocket sledge and sets it's course for the Cyberfleet. Ace is cornered by three Cybermen, but attacks the leader and causes the other two to destroy each other. The statue confirms it's orders, and is instructed to reform after attacking the Cyberfleet. The Doctor tells it he hopes it will not be needed again but when Nemesis asks if after this it will have it's freedom the Doctor says not yet. Two more Cybermen capture Ace but she escapes as the Doctor destroys them with the "comet's" engines. DeFlores & Karl arrive to take possession of the statue. DeFlores & Karl are killed by the wounded Cyberleader. Richard and Lady Peniforte arrive and she demands the bow, threatening to reveal the Doctor's secrets, where he came from and who is, which she learnt from the statue. The Doctor gives the bow to the Cyberleader, casually challenging Peniforte to reveal his secrets. The Cyberleader isn't interested in the Time Lords secrets and orders the Doctor to cancel the statue s instructions. The deranged Lady Peniforte dives into the rocket pod and becomes one with her statue. The rocket lifts off. The Doctor, Ace & the Cyberleader monitor it's progress and see Nemesis destroy the Cyberfleet. The Doctor tells the Cyberleader that it had ignored his instructions and Richard kills the Cyberleader with his last gold arrow. The Doctor & Ace return Richard to 1638 where he takes possession of Peniforte's estate. Ace questions the Doctor as to just who he is but the Doctor remains silent on the matter putting his finger to his lips.

Where do you start? At the end with Ace's line "just like you nailed the Daleks", because that just about hits the nail on the head. I'll quote from episode 2's blog entry:

"An immensely powerful semi sentient ancient Gallifreyan article that Rassilon and Omega helped to create has ended up on Earth and now various parties have tried to get it"
Now, after the other parties have wiped out each other, the Doctor uses the artefact to trap his enemies and destroy their base of operations.

For Hand of Omega read Nemesis, Imperial Daleks read Cybermen, Renegade Daleks read Nazis and Lady Peniforte, Skaro read the Imperial Fleet. When we come down to it Silver Nemesis main thrust is Remembrance of the Daleks reheated just two stories later. One more story, as originally planned, wouldn't have made much difference though it might have bookended the series nicely. But how they thought they could get away with doing this twice in fourteen episodes is beyond me.

Then we have the Cybermen: poor redesign for reasons outlined previously (impossible to light: dark body suit needs light which then reflects off chromed helmet and chest unit), poor gun redesign and inferior gun effects. But they're main problem is they're getting knocked over by arrows and a catapult. Yes gold is involved but previously it's been flakes of gold clogging the chest unit. Gold arrows would be too soft to penetrate a Cyberman (unless it's gold plated) and gold coins seem to be going in whole. It makes them look sill and weak. Easily the worst story for the 80s Cybermen who are really only here because John Nathan-Turner insisted on a monster and wanted his favourites due to the metalic Cybermen/silver anniversary very tenuous connection.

But beyond that.... top performance form all the main guest cast, you cannot fault Anton Diffring as De Flores, Fiona Walker as Lady Peinforte or Gerard Murphy as Richard Maynarde none of whom put a foot wrong. Peniforte's dive off the deep end into the pool of insanity is done particularly well. And David Banks is as good as ever as the Cyber-Leader, though he's not in it as much as I'd like - do we get an Excellent from him in this story? Yes there's at least one in this episode.

And in the episodes, more obvious than it is in Remembrance of the Daleks, is the idea that there's more to the Doctor than we thought. In both stories there's nthe insinuation he's had things to do with the devlopment of the Gallifreyan artifacts, both the Hand of Omega and the Valdium/Nemesis. The Doctor's explicitly implicated in brinmging the Hand of Omega to Earth and while it's said the Valadium "fell from the sky" you get the feeling he had something to do with it arriving there and certainly is responsible for shaping it into it's current form. Unfortuunately all that rather gets lost behind the ripped off main plot and the poor Cybermen.

When it comes down to it your appreciation of this does rather depend on whether you've seen Remembrance of the Daleks or not. One of my friends saw it first and loved it: I loaned him the Remembrance DVD and he quickly conceded that that was miles better!

One new location and guest cast member for you: Richard & lady Peniforte are hitch hiking at Arundel Park Gates near several of the other locations. The actress playing Mrs Remmington is Dolores Gray, promoted as a major guest star for the series. I, and the majority of the fans of the show had never heard of her. It emerges she had had a major career on Broadway in musical theatre and Doctor Who producer John Nathan-Turner was a huge fan of hers! Like the skinheads in the previous episode her part seems to serve little function and I'd much rather sacrifice these two sequences to get back some of the Doctor/Ace material lost in part one.

Writer Kevin Clarke adapted his only Doctor Who script for Target Books in 1989. A special edition video of this serial issued in 1993 which reinstated a large number of the deleted scenes and included a documentary made about the production of the serial for American television. The broadcast cut was the one released on DVD on 9th August 2010 when Silver Nemesis formed half of the Cybermen boxset along with Revenge of the Cybermen. The extra scenes were included as a deleted scenes package but many fans were angry at a longer cut not being included. It has huge potential for a Revisitations release with a special edition version being included as well as the documentary that was on the video tape that had to be missed off the DVD for rights issues.

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