mandag den 16. marts 2009

Who Review #25 - the Celestial Toymaker

Only episode four of this four parter exists. This is one of the boldest stories in the show's history in that the TARDIS passes out of normal space and time and into a fantasy universe for the first time.

The Doctor reappears outside the TARDIS (which is taken and placed among hundreds of replicas). Steven and Dodo are nearly hypnotised looking at past events on a screen but are warned to look away. The Doctor realises that they are in the domain of the Celestial Toymaker, who captures people and turns them into his playthings. The Toymaker has been waiting for the Doctor for a long time; the two of them vanish. Dodo and Steven are joined by two clowns, Clara and Joey. The Toymaker returns: Steven and Dodo must play games, and win them all, before the Doctor finishes his game - the trilogic game. If they lose, they will become toys forever, like other visitors to his domain. Win and they will get the TARDIS back. The Toymaker is bored and wants to have the Doctor as his perpetual opponent in games. He dematerialises the Doctor to prevent the latter warning his companions, leaving only his hand to move the pieces in the trilogic game. Dodo and Steven play their first game: blind man's buff, only a deadly version. Clara and Joey lose and are destroyed. A TARDIS appears, only it is a fake one. They are given a riddle to solve.

The Doctor is struck mute and will only be able to speak at the penultimate move. Dodo and Steven's next game is to find a throne with the Heart family as opposition - they are the King and Queen of Hearts. They are joined by the Joker and the Jack of Clubs. Solving part of the riddle, there are seven thrones to choose from but six of them are deadly. They find seven dolls and intend to use them to test the thrones. The companions and the Hearts both take dolls, Steven hiding the fact there are seven, But a the cupboard shuts locked. The first four thrones are deadly. The Hearts intend to use the Joker to test a throne; Dodo sits, realising that if their throne is the wrong one then the Hearts will win anyway. She begins to be frozen but Steven manages to get her off in time. The Joker runs away, leaving the King and Queen to choose. They sit together on a thone and are destroyed. Dodo pities them because she realised they were human travellers who had been victims of the Toymaker. They win and another (fake) TARDIS appears. They get another riddle.

The three remaining dolls are brought to life. The Toymaker thinks the companions deserve some amusement; they enter a kitchen where they meet a toy soldier, Sgt. Rugg, and cook Mrs. Wiggs. Dodo and Steven must play hunt the thimble in the kitchen, only they need to find a key instead to get onto a dance floor. The Toymaker moves the trilogic game forward several hundred moves because the Doctor is playing too slowly. After tearing the kitchen apart, ably assisted by sgt.Rugg, they find the key in a pie. The Toymaker appears and tells the cook and Sgt. that he gave them a chance of life but failed him in the kitchen; now they must prevent Steven and Dodo from reaching the other end of the dance floor or else he will destroy them. The dance floor has three dancing dolls; the riddle means if they cannot escape the clutches of the dolls, they will become dancing dolls themselves. Wiggs, Rugg, Dodo and Steven take it in turns dancing with the dolls; Steven and Dodo manage to dance themselves free to the other side and another fake TARDIS and another riddle. The Toymaker gets Cyril, his deadliest toy, because he looks like Billy Bunter.

Dodo and Steven play a game of triangle hopscotch against Cyril (who cheats); they have to hop because the floor is electrified. Steven and Dodo get sent back to the start and Cyril pulls closer to the finish. The Toymaker moves the trilogic game forward to move 1000; there are 1023 moves in all to complete the game. He returns the Doctor's voice. Cyril makes a winning throw but slips on the triangle where he put slippery powder. He falls to the floor and is electrocuted. The Doctor reappears with the last move to make. Dodo and Steven have finally found the real TARDIS. The travellers enter the ship but cannot take off until the Doctor finishes the trilogic game; but if he finishes the game the domain will vanish, taking them with it. A catch 22. The Toymaker won't be destroyed though as he is immortal and can rebuild a new world. The Doctor realises he can make the move by immitating the Toymaker's voice and the TARDIS dematerialises as the Toymaker's domain is destroyed. The Doctor remarks they could meet him again as he isn't destroyed. Putting one of Cyril's sweets in his mouth, he suddenly shouts in pain.

I like this story. There are lots of fun characters, who you do have some empathy for because they are victims, and once again Peter Purves gets to play a large role with Hartnell absent for most of the story. Michael Gough is an icy, calculating evil Toymaker and thus a great villain; Carman Silvera ("that stupid woman" Mdm. Edith in "Allo Allo") plays a couple of parts - Clara and Wiggs. The incidental music is great because it sounds like child melodies, only with a sinister undertone added to them.

Unfortunately, the audio doesn't really give any clue as to what the scene with the clowns was like; and it is rather foolish of the Toymaker to send Wiggs and Rugg into the dancing hall if he wants to trap Steven and Dodo. (Sorry Jackie Lane - I wish they had caught Dodo.)

Brian Hayles's story was completely unlike anything in the show up until then. Fantasy worlds and beings beyond the boundaries of time and space have become old hat by now (Star Trek has had a fantasy world with Liberace as a villain and Q in the Next Generation, for example) , so this story should be seen in that context. As you might expect with fandom - the Whovians - there is a little debate about whether or not the Toymaker is an Eternal, a race seen in the Davison story "Enlightenment".


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