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Attack of the Cybermen >

The Twin Dilemma

Rating Votes
10
5%
3
9
5%
3
8
6%
4
7
19%
12
6
14%
9
5
24%
15
4
21%
13
3
3%
2
2
2%
1
1
2%
1
Average Rating
5.8
Votes
63
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Reviewed By: LorcanReview Date: 1/10/19 12:50 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Everything there is to say about this infamous story has been said, all i can add is that colin baker deserved a far better opening episode
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Reviewed By: MercuryReview Date: 12/5/18 1:14 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

While I almost admire the bravery of giving the 6th Doctor such a shockingly different characterisation the way it is done completely alienates me today as much as it did when I watched it on its original transmission. I had loved Peter Davison's 5th Doctor for his heroically good nature epitomised more than ever with him eventually sacrificing himself to save his companion Peri. For him to regenerate into the 6th Doctor and be actually trying to strangle the person he died to save within the first 20 minutes as well as treating her with such disrespect and disdain is just far too jarring. It could possibly have worked if the writing and direction was to make it purely a short bad effect of regeneration making him deranged and portray it skillfully enough. It is not done well at all because the writing makes the 6th Doctor just seem like a totally unpleasant character. He continues to be a pompous, selfish, cowardly petulant, egotist with no compassion for the whole story and with a tendency to violence totally out of keeping with The Doctor. Indeed much of his tenure is blighted by aspects of these unpleasant traits continuing to appear. It does not allow for it to be excused as a temporary post regeneration trauma. Not much of this is Colin Baker's fault and in fact his acting in the first part of this story is admirable. Sadly the characterisation is bad and Colin's acting comes across as over the top, annoying and unengaging as a result. If he had simply been a darker Doctor it could have been interesting but the way it is done is just bad.

The first episode features him strangling Peri and being a conceited bully. The second episode makes it even worse showing him as a coward offering Peri as 'the one to blame' when threatened and so many awful character aspects are shown throughout the story. Even without that the story is lame. Twins with mathematical genius are kidnapped and a race of giant gastropods have taken over a planet. The twins are not well acted and are irritating, the gastropods are silly and the story is both boring and badly put together. There are silly plot elements throughout such as The Doctor leaving a random person in the TARDIS with his gun. Maurice Denham is a very very good actor indeed but there is no material to use even his potential as a guest character. The rest is unsatisfactory including Peri whose performance adds to the other annoying elements.

Baker's acting is sometimes shining through the bad characterisation, Denham is as good as he could be and there are a couple of minor elements of usual Doctor Who interest but overall this is not fun, not good enough quality for the show's usual standards and is makes the 6th Doctor unlikable.

This adventure brings season 21 down. They could have at least let Davison see out the season and left Baker to start his own season fresh. Very disappointing. 3 to 3.5/10 if you take whatever positives you can.
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Reviewed By: DalekbusterScreen5ReviewsReview Date: 4/9/17 12:15 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

The Twin Dilemma has an unfair reputation for being a bad Doctor debut story. People tend to forget that it followed the excellent The Caves of Androzani, so disappointment was inevitable. They could have pulled out a Spearhead From Space and people would still have claimed it wasn't very good. That being said, The Twin Dilemma definitely has flaws and it's not a story that will ever be considered a highlight of the classic series.

The Twin Dilemma finds the Doctor (Colin Baker) struggling to cope with post-regeneration trauma. He decides to become a hermit and lands the TARDIS on Titan III. Meanwhile, Romulus (Gavin Conrad) and Remus (Andrew Conrad) - two of the most intelligent twins in the universe - are kidnapped from their father Archie Sylvest (Dennis Chinnery) by the Doctor's old mentor from Gallifrey Azmael (Maurice Denham). He needs their help to save the people of Jaconda from famine and is working with Gastropod (alien slugs) leader Mestor (Edwin Richfield) in order to achieve that goal. Officer Hugo Lang (Kevin McNally) is sent out to search for the twins by the Earth defence force the Interplanetary Pursuit but is shot down and crashes on Titan III. He decides to team up with the Doctor and Peri (Nicola Bryant) to find the twins' captive and stop Mestor's real plan from coming to fruition.

It's applaudable how The Twin Dilemma takes a basic story and makes it the plot of the Doctor's debut. The story should never be overly complicated for a Doctor's introduction; it feels right for the focus to be on exploring who the new Doctor is (or rather what he has become). It's definitely one of the easiest Doctor Who stories to follow; the plot is pretty low-key and is more about the kidnap of the twins than the supposed destruction their mathematical knowledge could cause.

It's that mathematical knowledge, however, that's one of the hindrances of The Twin Dilemma's stories. I spoke in my Logopolis review on how the idea of Mathematicians having control over the universe is boring and the same thought for me applies here. The twins are dull and watching them write mathematical equations is not very exciting. A fair bit of time is devoted to it too; they try to make it appear exciting with the production design (the swivel-y chairs bizarrely make it look like some sort of game show) but it doesn't quite work. Doctor Who's current producer of the time John Nathan Turner seems obsessed by the idea of mathematics changing the universe given this is his second story to feature it and I don't quite know why. The twins have this annoying way of speaking also that makes them sound posh and too polite to be true. Their dialogue is literally all a 'father wouldn't approve' way of speaking that I'm sure made many viewers at the time feel like chucking their remote control at the screen.

Many complain about the Doctor cowering away from aliens in this story but to me this works within the context of the story. We know the Doctor is suffering from post-regeneration trauma so what better way to emphasise this than to show him being something that goes against the kind of person he is? The audience are aware he's not quite himself because he's hiding from the very things he defends the universe from, so by the time he confronts Mestor it seems like the Doctor we know and love is back. It's a good decision by writer Anthony Steven and something that to his credit I doubt any other Doctor Who writer would dare to attempt.

Talking of the Doctor, if anything helps carry The Twin Dilemma it is Colin Baker's performance. Colin Baker is fantastic as the Doctor in his first story; his theatrical delivery is very engaging to watch and despite the displays of cowardice he has flashes of a certain demeanour that bode well for his future serials for the show. If nothing else, this story is worth watching for Colin Baker - even if it is rather mediocre and not the best example of classic series Doctor Who. It's nice that he got an opportunity to play the Doctor as he wanted through Big Finish as his acting helps overcome some of the lame dialogue he is given.

It's a shame that the scenes in the TARDIS tend to drag in episode one. They take up majority of the first episode and it feels like we spend too much time in the TARDIS and not enough of the serial's running time devoted to the twin kidnap plot. The moment where the Doctor strangles his companion Peri also feels uncomfortable to watch, even if it makes sense because of the post-regeneration trauma. It's well acted by both Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant but it doesn't quite work in the story. It unwisely makes the new Doctor to appear violent and unlikeable, which I am sure was the intention but doesn't make for the most likeable protagonist.

The serial is full of interesting supporting characters, especially Maurice Denham as Azmael and Kevin McNally as Hugo Lang. Azmael is a brilliant character and I wish the more jokey relationship hinted at in dialogue between the Doctor and Azmael had been shown on-screen. He is well-played by Maurice Denham, who offers a certain gravitas that's perfect for a Time Lord from Gallifrey. Azmael would have made a great recurring character and it is a shame he wasn't brought back in future sixth Doctor stories. I hope one day Big Finish decide to bring the character back despite his
View SpoilersWARNING: spoilers below
death
; I am sure they could find a way around that. If the Master can return from the dead, then why not Azmael? As for Kevin McNally as Hugo, there's something endearing about his performance that leaves you wanting more. It's not hard to see why he has become a major stable of the Pirates of the Caribbean series. He's an actor who was too good for The Twin Dilemma and I wish there was a chance Big Finish could afford him for a Hugo Lang spinoff series.

Overall, The Twin Dilemma isn't as bad as many make out but it does display a few flaws. The twins are boring for one and the TARDIS scenes take up too much of the first episode. However the story wisely focuses on a simplistic narrative for a Doctor debut story and Colin Baker's performance as well as those of the supporting cast are amazing. It was definitely a misfire though to show the sixth Doctor strangling his companion; it makes him appear violent and unlikeable, with Colin Baker's acting being the only saving grace for the character. The Twin Dilemma can only really be recommended for Colin Baker's performance, even if its un-deserving of a terrible reputation.
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Reviewed By: TCar96Review Date: 11/17/16 10:10 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

One plot built on a foundation of mathematics; one director seemingly clueless and one monumental leap backwards from one of – if not the greatest serials of all time, Caves of Androzani. It can only be the Twin Dilemma!
Whilst comparisons abound, none quite stick. Like the Invisible Enemy, it’s a massive step backwards and like those early Bidmead days the tonal change is strong enough to give you whiplash… but unlike both examples, I’d be lying if I didn’t say to Twin Dilemma’s credit, it’s so bad its good.

From the performances, the raw tacky cheapness of everything on screen and the flat out bananas choice of using child actors to herald a new dawn for a new doctor – nothing works.
Not quite nothing, Colin Baker, bless him, is woefully mistreated. Not much more can be added to the sight of the Doctor suffocating his companion! However, this excess aside, I had no issues with Colin, in fact I actually found it immensely satisfying. There’s almost an element of 4th wall breaking post-modernism as Colin marches (or quivers), insulting his way from set to set. It feels as if the Doctor himself is infuriated with the whopping monster of a shambles in front of him, and just wants to garrotte, throttle, leap, shout and insult his way through four episodes. When this approach fails, he’s more than happy to cry foul of the whole thing and start wandering off.

May be abrasive, certainly went too far and yes, Uncle Terry would be turning blue! Nevertheless, Colin is beyond watchable and characterised far in a way beyond Peter within a fraction of the time.
It really does deserve the terrible reputation but I don’t think it’s fair to call TTD the ‘worst’ serial of Who. It’s awful, a real mess, but it’s certainly not dull or bereft of laughs!