This is a
six week game
Ever watched the Crystal
Maze on a black and white television through a
net-curtain? Almost certainly not, but if you have seen UK
Golds murky copy of The Keys of Marinus you
have undergone the nearest comparable experience. This
video release effectively removes the net-curtain. The
team has done a marvellous job of restoring the masters
and the image quality is now the definition of clarity. If
you happen to like this story, and dont mind forking
out for two videos when the material could comfortably fit
on one, then dont hesitate to buy it.
Its a big if though...
This very early Doctor
Who story could tactfully be described as leisurely.
The tale features Arbitan, who dwells in a pyramid on a
glass beach, surrounded by a sea of acid and with only the
super-computer Conscience of Marinus for
company. Unfortunately the computer will not function
without its five micro-circuits, the eponymous keys.
In Richard O Brien fashion, Arbitan dispatches the
doctor and his companions to face challenges on some
unfeasibly disparate planet zones, in order to fetch the
micro-circuits before the renegade Voords looking
suitably menacing in their wetsuits, flippers and
Teletubby antennae can get to them.
Each of the intervening
episodes focuses on a different combination of characters.
In the splendid Velvet Web the regulars are
imprisoned in an illusionary Neo-classical palace. The
Screaming Forest sees Ian and Barbara confronting
murderous fast-growing vines and an old mans
collection of cardboard booby traps. In The Snows of
Terror Barbara escapes from a randy trappers
advances only to inadvertently defrost some guardian
warriors. Finally, in the tedious Sentence of Death,
Ian is fitted up for murder in a state with an inverted
Video, U cert
by Gareth Thomas
Out now (PAL)
Watched in a single
sitting, The Keys of Marinus can only be
recommended as a soporific. It is best treated as a
miniature precursor of the Key to Time season, as a story
arc of three adventures linked by the Arbitan narrative.
On this condition, and that each adventure be judged on
its particular merits, The Keys of Marinus can be
reviewed in this issue: new episodes of Buffy
The X-Files LEXX Deep Space Nine
Highlander: The Raven plus books and videos for Star
Trek Merlin The Simpsons Red Dwarf
VII Robot Wars and Willo the Wisp