Monday 17 September 2012

664 Paradise Towers Part One

EPISODE: Paradise Towers Part One
TRANSMITTED: Monday 05 October 1987
WRITER: Stephen Wyatt
DIRECTOR: Nicholas Mallett
SCRIPT EDITOR: Andrew Cartmel
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 4.5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Paradise Towers

The Doctor & Mel visit Paradise Towers, so that Mel can use the swimming pool but on arrival they discover it dilapidated and run down with gangs of teenage girls - Kangs - roaming the corridors. They are captured by the Red Kangs who the Doctor tries to befriend. They explain to The Doctor how there are Red & Blue Kangs but someone has killed all the Yellow Kangs. Also living in Paradise towers are the Old ones and the Caretakers. The Red Kangs are ambushed by the Caretakers who capture the Doctor but Mel escapes, only to be lured into a flat belonging to two elderly female residents, Tabby & Tilda. The Doctor and Caretakers are chased by an out of control cleaning robot. Mel is "rescued" by vigilante Pex who decides to accompany her. The Doctor is taken to the Chief Caretaker who thinks he is the great architect and orders him killed!

There's a lot to like here: A distorted society but even within that there's something odd going on with one tribe of girl gangs wiped out: we see the last Kang's body being driven off by a cleaning robot and then a junior caretaker following as the Chief Caretaker reassures his unseen pet... It works in a way that Time & The Rani doesn't. The music, again by Keff McCulloch, is a bit intrusive and replaced an earlier score by David Snell, which is available as an option on the Paradise Towers DVD. You have to wonder how a society like this, seemingly in isolation is surviving. What are the Caretakers & Kangs doing for food and where are they getting it from? I'd ask the same question about the old ladies but I know because I've seen this story before.... There's a hint on the table that gets cleared as Mel enters their flat! Pex looks a bit of a fool as he bursts in on a seemingly innocent "cup of tea" scene here first thinking that Mel's being menaced by the ladies and then that Mel might be menacing them. As it turns out his first instincts were correct....

Stephen Wyatt was a writer who's play Claws landed on script editor Andrew Cartmel's desk. Cartmel liked what he saw and hired him to write a story.

Cartmel's book, Script Doctor: The Inside Story of Doctor Who 1986-89, tells a story about a 13 year old fan who he gives the pseudonym "Nigel Feather" to. Said fan was proving particularly annoying to the production team and faked a letter which got him access to the studios during this story. Rather worryingly I suspect this might be someone I was at school with at the time who had the same initials and was a Doctor Who fan!

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