Reviewed By: adamelijah
Review Date: 9/15/15 10:28 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
Slipback was the only Doctor Who Story aired during the show's 18 month hiatus during the mid-1980s. It was broadcast over the children's program Pirate Radio Four. It essentially attempts to be a comedy, but is hit and miss (mostly miss) in that regards. I couldn't help but think of what Douglas Adams would have done with it. Instead, we get a weak imitation of Adams. The Comedy policemen worked actually earned a chuckle or two from me. The ditzy computer was funny a couple times and the idea of the Captain who produced spores to infect the crew with diseases was mildly humorous. Let's all give the story credit for making the Doctor a little less edgy than on TV. In the scenes he and Peri share (particularly in the first episode), their relationship has evolved and is a far warmer than it was throughout season 22. They're quite good together. It's a pity they didn't share more scenes.
This was originally broadcast as six ten minute episodes and of the five cliffhangers, four were Colin Baker shouting or screaming something. The story was kind of okay for the first five part but the end really spoiled it for me. I won't even go into all the Doctor Who stories the ending contradicts because it deals with the origins of the Universe and most Doctor Who stories about that contradict other stories, however it essentially has a Time Lord with a deep computer synthesized voice appear to stop the plot just as it's getting going with our hero being put in his place by the High Council of Time Lords. And isn't that just what every fan wants from an episode of Doctor Who?
What's frustrating about this episode is that it's such a lost opportunity. BBC Radio Four freed the show from so much of the restraint of budget that the show had to deal with on Television. We could have gotten a story that was special, grand, something that they could have never done on television and would have made kids excited about the show and eager for its show and given fans a treat. We now know that the story Leviathan (impossible to produce in the 1980s over television) had been written for Season 22 originally even though it was never put into production. Instead of dusting off this script or another lost story, writer Eric Seward (also script editor on the TV series) opts to write a story with the Doctor, Companion, and other characters running around corridors in a spaceship.
There's also this sense of timidity about the show and about the incumbent Doctor that come from Seward. Our villain tells the Doctor he's a disappointment and the Doctor confesses that most people say that. Seward does little to help the Sixth Doctor's overall reputation in this story with him mostly being an irrelevancy to the outcome who nearly makes a big mistake that would have destroyed us all if not for the interference of the Time Lords. It feels like the story reflects Seward's opinion of Colin Baker as the Doctor and the lack of confidence in the show and its direction that would lead to putting the Doctor on trial when the show returned form hiatus. Overall, this is yet another misfire from the 1980s that only a little bit better than the Twin Dilemma.