OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 687
STORY NUMBER: 156
TRANSMITTED: Wednesday 04 January 1989
WRITER: Stephen Wyatt
DIRECTOR: Alan Wareing
SCRIPT EDITOR: Andrew Cartmel
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 6.6 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Greatest Show in the Galaxy
The family are impressed with Captain Cook controlling Mags, and their eyes glow green in appreciation. The Bus Conductor is returned to the bus where it finds Ace & Kingpin searching for the missing piece of mirror. When Kingpin finds the missing piece his mind is restored and he instructs Ace in how to destroy the conductor. The light is the ring is cut loose, killing Captain Cook and restoring Mags allowing Doctor & Mags to escape. Morgana & The Ringmaster are forced into the ring where the clowns assist the family in dispatching them. Mags draws the clowns off while the Doctor con fronts the eye. He finds himself in an ancient arena confronting the Gods of Ragnorak where they demand he entertains them or die. Ace uses Bellboy's robot to destroy the clowns. The Doctor attempts to distract the Gods and play for time by performing tricks for them. Ace, Kingpin & Mags drive back to the circus in the clown's hearse. They make their way into the circus but are pursued by Cook's corpse animated by the gods. The Captain knocks Kingpin over taking the mirror off him, which Ace & Mags knock into the pit. It materialises at the Doctor's feet. Cook is knocked into the pit. The Doctor uses the mirror to deflect the gods energy bolts back at them, defeating them and destroying the arena, which he strides out of, and out of the circus as it blows up behind him. He finds Ace, Kingpin & Mags waiting outside. Kingpin & Mags decide to set up a new circus themselves, but the Doctor declines the opportunity to join saying he finds circuses a little sinister.
Ok..... so probably best not to be watching complicated Doctor Who episodes at the end of the day when I'm tired and in pain. But that in itself might help to highlight some of what's wrong with it that it's not explicitly explained on screen. There's no explanation of who the Gods of Ragnorak are or where they've come from but somehow the family we've spent the last 3 episodes watching are them and the circus has camped out on an ancient site somehow becoming a modern analogy for their arena. The Doctor spends the entire episode fooling around as a distraction for Ace to get on with things..... I don't know.... That's the first time I've seen Greatest Show in a long time. I really want to like it, because there's some good stuff going on but the ending leaves a lot unexplained.... it's a nice big explosion though!
This is the last time that Doctor Who recorded a viewing figure of greater than 6 million. In fact it's the last time it does greater than 5 million either!