40 Stupid Things About
(And 10 Cool Ones)
(But we're not telling you which is which)
(We're expecting you to work that out for yourselves)
By Alan Stevens and Fiona Moore
1. It's unfortunate that Romulus and Remus can't pronounce their R's.
2. Despite the programme's frequent relegation to the “children's television” category, this is the first Doctor Who story in which children would play a main role.
3. Considering that the historical Romulus and Remus were allegedly abandoned, brought up by wolves, raised armies against each other and wound up fighting to the death, you'd think their parents might have chosen slightly more auspicious names.
4. The Doctor describes his previous incarnation as “effete” and says he “simply wasn't me.” You said it, Doctor #6, not us.
5. Due to contractual obligations Peter Davison was paid for these episodes despite not appearing in them. Nothing to do with the above-mentioned Fifth Doctor slagoff, naturally.
6. “There is no change. No rhyme, no time! No place for space, nothing! Nothing but the grinding engines of the universe, the crushing boredom of eternity!” Well, it is formula television.
7. One of the costumes in the Doctor's wardrobe is a Zerok guard's uniform from the Blake's 7 episode “Gold”. Perhaps it's a leftover from his stint as Bayban the Butcher.
8. Malcolm Clarke's score on this is particularly good; love the electronic arpeggios.
9. The fact the twins converse civilly with a total stranger who has appeared in their room, without first questioning him, does actually work, suggesting a hilarious but believable naiveté on their part.
10. Although telling said stranger that your parents are both out and you don't know when to expect them back is heading out of “naïve” and into “just plain stupid.”
11. Why does Peri defend herself against the Doctor by showing him a mirror?
12. In fact, why does it work?
13. Professor Sylvest's communicator appears to be a cheap crap portable telly. Because, of course, it is.
14. The Doctor says to Peri that he wants to find a hermitage where “you and I can suffer together.” “Why should I be made to suffer?” Peri asks. The audience is posing much the same question by this point.
15. A giant hermaphrodite slug crime-lord, surrounded by aliens, in a decadent palace? Somewhere, George Lucas is on the phone to his lawyer, brandishing the character notes for Jabba the Hutt.
16. Peri's dialogue is decidedly unAmerican in places, with lines like “Do you think that wise?” and “Doctor, it's absolutely ghastly.”
17. According to the infotext, the Sixth Doctor was supposed to be reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes. This makes much more sense when you remember Holmes was a manic depressive cocaine addict.
18. The model shots are, as usual, very nice. Especially the safe-house blowing up at the end of Part Two. Although they don't match the location footage of Springwell Quarry.
19. “That awful creature. I've never been so frightened in my life.” The temptation to add “And the slug was pretty scary too!” is irresistible.
20. Apparently the revitaliser's function is to turn people into cardboard diagrams of the circulatory system, with spangles dacing around the chest and crotch.
21. Azmael has trouble identifying the Doctor. Since most Time Lords seem to recognise each other instantly regardless of regeneration status, there's obviously something wrong with his eyes.
22. The Doctor's description of his drinking activities with Azmael is appropriate, as the dialogue establishes they last met during the Doctor's fourth incarnation.
23. Mestor's name in the draft script was “Aslan”. The estate of CS Lewis was no doubt also on the phone to its lawyer.
24. “Some of this technology looks familiar”, says the Doctor. Considering that it includes reused props from “Four to Doomsday” and “Warriors of the Deep”, dolled up Blue Peter-fashion with silver paper, it should.
25. The Doctor reconfigures the revitalising modulator to take Peri back in time, and blithely states this will somehow return her to the Tardis. The novelisation simply has him modify the device to transmit the molecules through space, which makes perfect sense. Not to mention, stops the audience from wondering how time travel also changed her location.
26. Hugo's outfit looks like it's made out of the kind of shiny tissue paper used in children's crafts.
27. We dare any readers of this article to do a screen-grab of the face Peri pulls at the end of Part Two, print it out on A4 high-quality photo paper, and ask Nicola Bryant to sign it. Go on. We double-dare you.
28. Why does Azmael bother with the pseudonym Edgeworth? Why not just use his real name?
29. However, both Hugo and the Doctor have somehow mysteriously learned the pseudonym by Part Three, referring to Azmael as "Edgeworth".
30. Similarly, there's no reason for Mestor to call him “Edgeworth”, or for Maurice Denham to be credited as “Edgeworth” on the titles.
31. “Half humanoid, half slug”, says the Doctor. Shouldn't that be “half humanoid, half molluscoid”?
32. “I may be behaving like a manic barometer...” says the Doctor. What, does he hang on the wall and twitch when the weather changes?
33. Could Mestor's palace guards be described as a group of fit birds? No? Oh, please yourselves.
34. We like the way the gastropods appear in the wall paintings, with their strangely eager poses.
35. All of the cliffhangers in this story come across as surprisingly unthrilling.
36. Although Mestor is supposed to be a giant gastropod, who leaves a slimy trail in his wake, he in fact appears to have two very small feet.
37. Mestor's scheme to invade the universe involves the engineered explosion of Jaconda's sun in order to scatter his eggs far and wide. And, apparently, nowhere would then be safe. Where do you even start to describe how ridiculous this is?
38. “The Twin Dilemma” is a story without any actual dilemmas in it. And indeed, there's no real reason for the children in question to be twins.
39. Judging from the equipment in Azmael's lab, he has secretly rigged up a satellite dish for receiving Sky TV.
40. Also, why's he storing bottles of acid? It doesn't appear to be a chemistry lab.
41. So the Doctor plans on ending Mestor's scheme, not through talking him out of it, or mobilising the local opposition, but by throwing a vial of acid at him. Well, at least he's not a hypocrite.
42. In the unfortunate mixed metaphors department: “He's been dying to kill someone”.
43. The idea of a villainous sluglike being which plots to take over someone else's body will turn up again in “Mindwarp”.
While the idea of destroying the villain's body as he's out of it, so that he won't have a place to return, was later nicked for “The Satan
45. Azmael's death, meanwhile, featuring a Time Lord dying in the Doctor's arms, was ripped off for “Last of the Time Lords”, albeit with more homoerotic overtones.
46. Despite that, the way Maurice Denham plays the death scene makes it surprisingly sad.
47. Noma screams with mental anguish as Mestor dies, prompting Lang to punch him in the belly for good measure.
48. “I am the Doctor... whether you like it or not.” Apparently, Michael Grade did not.
49. Along with a good proportion of its audience-- "The Twin Dilemma" dropped by more than a million viewers over the course of the serial.
50. However, coming last out of 241 stories in Doctor Who Magazine's 2014 The First Five Decades poll is certainly an achievement of some kind.