Tuesday 9 October 2012

686 The Greatest Show in the Galaxy Part Three

"Although I never got to see the early days I know it's not as good as it used to be"

EPISODE: The Greatest Show in the Galaxy Part Three
TRANSMITTED: Wednesday 28 December 1988
WRITER: Stephen Wyatt
DIRECTOR: Alan Wareing
SCRIPT EDITOR: Andrew Cartmel
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 4.8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Greatest Show in the Galaxy

Ace is rescued from the clowns by Bellboy. The Doctor escapes but Mags is cornered by the clowns and is returned, with Captain Cook to the circus. Bellboy sees Flowerchild's earing on Ace's jacket and realises that his friend is dead. He gives Ace a remote control for the robot in the desert. The Doctor meets Deadbeat in the tunnels. Morgana sees the eye in her crystal ball which then shows them where the Doctor is. The Doctor & Deadbeat find Ace & Bellboy, with Bellboy remembering that Deadbeat used to be Kingpin. Captain Cook deludes Wizz Kid into entering the ring before him who is quickly dispatched like Nord before him. Bellboy remains behind to delay the clowns while Ace & The Doctor leave with Kingpin. Bellboy is dispatched by the clown robots. The Doctor & Ace take Kingpin to the eye in the tunnels but he collapses. The notice an eye on Kingpin's mirror, with the iris missing and work out that it has been hidden in the bus. Ace & Kingpin go to the bus to find it while the Doctor returns to the ring to buy them time and proposes that he, Mags & Captain Cook should enter the ring together. Cook has a moon projected onto the ceiling which triggers Mags' transformation into a werewolf like creature that attacks the Doctor.

Again good stuff but by this point, when I watched it on broadcast, I wasn't really sure what was going on. Now I can see that something has an influence on the circus but it's still hard to pin down what.

What was obvious, even then, was that Wizz Kid is a play on a Doctor Who fan. It's not a comfortable portrayal, and even a bit offensive, but it's expressing the production team's frustration at a certain sort of fan and aspects of fandom that annoyed them.

The actor playing Wizz Kid is Gian Sammarco famed for playing the TV version of Adrian Mole. Experienced actor T. P. McKenna plays Captain Cook, a typical boring British explorer with Jessica Martin as his companion Mags. She would later return as the voice of the Queen in Voyage of the Damned. I've seen it said that The Captain & Mags is a play on the Doctor/Companion relationship...... Ricco Ross plays the Ringmaster. He was Private Frost in Aliens, the liftman in several of the New York set Jeeves & Wooster and Captain Frank in the Babylon 5 season 4 episode The Face of the Enemy. Ian Reddington, the Chief Clown, was subsequently best known for playing Tricky Dicky in EastEnders. Christopher Guard plays Bellboy: his brother Dominic was Olvir in Terminus and both voiced characters in the animated version of The Lord of the Rings (Frodo & Pippin respectively). Remember how I said that the actress who played Flowerchild was married to Charlie from Casualty? Chris Guard's other half is Cathy Shipton who played Duffy in the same series for many years. Chris Jury, playing Deadbeat/Kingpin, had been seen for the role of the Seventh Doctor when Colin Baker left. He's best known for playing Eric Catchpole in Lovejoy.

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