Reviewed By: JMChurch25
Review Date: 4/19/18 2:51 pm
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It's hard to imagine a Seventh Doctor TV story worse than 'Time and the Rani' but honestly and shockingly "Delta and the Bannermen" somehow fits the bill. At least 'Rani' had some interesting things about it that saved it a little even if they weren't executed all that well. 'Bannermen' doesn't even have that going for it and re-watching it again its reputation is very well earned. The plot as best as I can figure out centers around the Chimeron princess Delta being pursued as the last of her kind by the evil Bannermen who want to kill her for.....some unknown reason that I couldn't figure out watching other than just being evil. If you are looking for some sort of motivation or background to these characters and why they have such animosity towards each other, you aren't going to find it here. Meanwhile the Seventh Doctor and Melanie join a group of tourist aliens on a tour of the Earth and get stuck in 1959 in a run-down holiday camp where they end up finding Delta and get involved in said conflict along with a 50's biker girl named Ray, a young man named Billy with an out of nowhere attraction to Delta, two American spies looking for a downed satellite, and a weird old beekeeper who seems to only be there to spout weird wisdom that relates to the Chimeron culture. How all these things tie together I really have no idea and I'm not sure the story itself does either. Trying to untangle and care about what is going on is next to impossible especially as we never find out more about any of the characters the plot centers around other than surface level impressions. There are also so many things that simply don't make sense at all like the completely out of left field romance between biker dude Billy and Delta, the purpose of why the American pair are in the story at all, and especially how and why this conflict is important or worth caring about. It makes the story an unpleasantly boring slog and all of the other flaws in the story certainly don't help. For one thing, I hate the 50's setting partially on a personal level and partially because it's cheesy, overblown, and really doesn't serve the story's purpose. For another, the design of this story is simply awful. Everything from the creature design of the tourist aliens to the costume designs of both the Bannermen and Delta are over the top and silly-looking. I could go on and on about all of the problems this one has but what about what's good? Well Sylvester McCoy is certainly trying his hardest and you can continue to see his character growing in confidence and ability in this story. He gets all the best lines and moments in the story though that's really not saying much when everything else is so bad. I really also like the character of Ray in this story. A Welsh biker girl that feels like a prototype for Ace with a sweeter edge to her, she and Seven have a really nice connection and I could totally see them working as a TARDIS pair. You can tell that the producers were prepping for Mel's departure next story (who by the way is at her worst here with nothing redeemable to go off of) and playing around with different ideas on who would work with Seven. Other than that.....the scenery is nice at times I guess and the production design is OK for the most part. But that's honestly about it. I can count the good things of this story on one hand compared to needing my entire body to describe the bad things. In short, "Delta and the Bannermen" is a waste of time and energy and if I had to pick a low point for the Seventh Doctor on TV, this story would definitely be it. Thankfully it doesn't tie into anything related to future Seventh Doctor adventures or stories so I'm glad to say you can safely skip this one and leave it to the oblivion it deserves.