Doctor Who — The Reign of Terror



Season 1 – Episode 8 – (1964)
Doctor: 1 – William Hartnell
Companions: Susan, Ian, Barbara

The finale of season 1 – I made it here (oh bravo sir for watching a show) and we’ll keep going. As episodes go, though it’s a forgettable one. I had to do the six episodes in a couple of goes because it just drags. Thank goodness then that to fulfill a self-imposed word count we can pad out with general facts about season 1. Well we’ll see.

Picking up from the forced conflict of where we left off, The Doctor decides that Ian and Barbara have been taking advantage for far too long and resolves to return them directly to 1963. At first glance he appears to have done so but of course this is the wrong time. They have landed right in the middle of the the French revolution.

Here we follow the formula: split up the main cast and have them deal with the locals of the week. Unfortunately this story’s locals, while historically relevant, or nothing like those we saw in The Aztecs. Some names of note are Napoleon and Robespierre, with the latter taking a key role and the former bumbling in at the last minute to be mysterious and ominous.

It’s a story of spies and killing with so much guillotining happening off screen. It’s also a story where the French characters not only do not speak French but some have considerably northern British accents. Eventually this is hand waved by doctor who but it’s amusing at this point nonetheless.

I know I am wont to complain about Susan in Doctor Who but I should say that she is a strong defined character (who screams and is a little irritating). I say this because all of our leads are now very defined and are at their finest when they have something to bounce off. The supporting cast in this episode are just so foggy that they don’t provide this counterpoint. The cast suffers… Except maybe Hartnell but he could bounce off a vacuum.

All in all the episode is very much a scenic drive through a location shoot but a little bit of a drag for the end of our Season. If you want to introduce Doctor Who to a new person; do not start with this story! The Aztecs is the best just due to its tight and gripping storytelling. (The Daleks is a bit long.)

No I really think this is a real down turn for the end of the season but Hartnell has not even begun to shine his brightest yet. As for this story: it’s a tired review of a difficult story.

Favourite Quotes:

  • Road Works Overseer: I suppose you think you’re very clever.
    The Doctor: Well, without any undue modesty, yes!


3/10 (No thank you)

Next time:

We return in season two for the return of old foes (yes it’s who you think it is), companion departures, new faces, Blue Peter presenters and the possibly the worst costumes the show will ever see…
Join me in Season 2…

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