Doctor Who: City of Death (Part 2)

“All good children’s stories are the same: young creature breaks rules, has incredible adventure, then returns home with the knowledge that aforementioned rules are there for a reason.
Of course the actual message to the careful reader is: break rules as often as you can, because who the hell doesn’t want to have an adventure?”

Brian K. Vaughan

It’s TARDIS Tuesday, brought to you courtesy of the Horror Channel, which, for reasons best known to itself, is currently screening classic Doctor Who episodes on weeknights. (There’s a hilarious Youtube advert which tries to pitch Doctor Who as actual horror, with the tagline “It’s About Time”, followed by Evil Laughter.) There’s even a hashtag: #WhoOnHorror. I don’t know why this is so funny, but it is.

Anyway, I managed to land myself in the middle of a four-part serial, City of Death, featuring the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker, the one with the long woolly scarf and the jelly babies) and Awesome Time Lady Romana (actual Time Lady, people!) as they attempt to stop some people who are presumably aliens from stealing the Mona Lisa out of the Louvre. They also have a time-speeding-up-machine in the basement, which means, of course, that they are Up To No Good. Not that you need the actual plot to tell you this, since, being a product of 1979, the thing is full of that amazingly cheesy dramatic music which tells you exactly what to think. “After that…you won’t need any light,” says an Evil Person, imaginatively. Duhn duhn DUHN, goes the music. This person is evil! You are not supposed to like him! There’s no moral ambiguity here.

Having said that, I was mildly impressed by the main villain of the piece, who for once chose not to gloat over his captives by revealing his Evil Plan. Ah, a wise villain. Not many of those in Classic Who-land.

I just remembered why the name City of Death sounds familiar. It’s because it was co-written by Douglas Adams.

As in, the Douglas Adams.

Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams.



*goes to TV guide to check when the next episode’s on*

This explains the best bit of the episode: the Doctor says, “Can you throw some light on this?” and someone throws a lamp at him. Classic. This is why Doctor Who is awesome.


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