|selected from TV Zone #137|
Reviews online this month (ratings given
are out of 10):
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|Delta and the Bannermen||Rating:10|
|BBC Video, Cert PG
|VHS PAL, Out 26 March 2001
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Its no big secret that Delta and the Bannermen is not a big favourite in Who fan circles. Its a story that is held up to be the absolute nadir of the show, or at the very least dismissed as that rubbish with Ken Dodd in it. I remember watching the original broadcast at the age of 11 and finding it to be very enjoyable indeed; only in later years did I become aware of fan loathing of the story. Watching it 14 years on, I was rather fearful that my fond memories of the show would be spoilt.
Well, surprise surprise, the first shock is that Ken Dodd is actually very good indeed. His indignant delivery of the line Were not fools, you know! is an early delight. The story is hardly as complex as later Sylvester McCoy offerings, but thats probably a good thing, making Delta fun, light and amusing viewing. Only some extremely violent scenes offset the ludicrous comedy of the story, notably the cold-blooded murder of Dodds Tollmaster, and the senseless destruction of the bus and its passengers.
Gavrok is an out-and-out evil baddie with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, and as ever Don Henderon fits the bill perfectly. His band of incompetent Bannermen are also cartoon villains, but perfect for a story that is essentially nothing but three episodes of chasing about the countryside on motorbikes.
There are some absolutely delightful performances from the guest cast, from Richard Daviess Burton; (So youre telling me that you are not the Happy Hearts holiday club from Bolton, but instead are spacemen in fear of attack from other spacemen?) to Hugh Lloydss enigmatic bee-keeper Goronwy. Sara Griffiths is terrific as Ray, and as enjoyable as Sophie Aldreds Ace would later prove to be, its scandalous that Griffiths didnt stay on as the new companion. Only David Kinders stilted performance as Billy fails to convince, but other than some jarring incidental music everything else is a joy to watch.
Buy this tape and remind yourself of a time when 7.35 on BBC1 didnt automatically mean hospital dramas and soap operas. It might all be rather silly, but at least its something imaginative and different. Besides, thats why Doctor Who became so popular in the first place.
|STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION|
|Diplomatic Implausibility||Rating: 7|
|Simon and Schuster Books||Out: 2 April 2001 (UK) ISBN: 0-671-78554-0||Reviewed by
Old face, new(ish)
Keith RA DeCandidos book Diplomatic Implausibility catches the readers attention from the start, presenting newly minted Ambassador Worfs first post Deep Space Nine mission. A colony of al-Hmatti is rebelling against its Klingon governor, and has requested Federation assistance in claiming its independence. Worf must again balance the needs of the Federation he serves against the needs of the Klingons, all the while maintaining an uneasy alliance with those who feel he may not truly deserve his position.
Despite the title, the biggest implausibility in the book isnt on the diplomatic front its more that in a scant 240 pages DeCandido uses almost every modern Klingon weve ever seen. Im the last one to object to a few familiar faces, but when a single ship includes, to name just a few, Martoks son, Worfs former brother, a Klingon engineer Beverly Crusher once offended, and an officer Riker served with a decade earlier, the storys credibility is undercut just a bit. Few of these characters were really needed for their own traits, moreover; while one or two figure heavily into the plot, most of the others appear to be there just because its neat to see them.
On the plus side, though, DeCandido has a marvellous ear for dialogue and for character. Its easy to go over the top while writing for Klingons just have them pound their chests a lot and talk about honour, and youre set. DeCandido avoids the obvious pitfalls; even though his Klingons are certainly motivated by the usual mix of honour and bloodlust, most of them are also reasonably well-rounded individuals, leaving the reader with a much greater sense of actually being there than, for example, Doranna Durgins book Tooth and Claw (#60, also reviewed in this issue) manages. Its not perfect, but of the two books its definitely the better bet.
© Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction