Monday, 21 January 2013

Doctor Who 'Inferno' Review

The evil Brigade Leader from the alternate Earth.

‘Inferno’ is the final story of Jon Pertwee’s first series on Doctor Who and also marks Caroline John’s final appearance as Liz Shaw.

‘The Inferno’ is the nickname given to a project to drill into the Earth’s core to reach the pockets of Stahlman’s Gas, which is theorised to provide abundant amounts of cheap energy.  The project, headed up by the ill-tempered Professor Stahlman, begins to experience some problems when one of the workers comes into contact with a toxic green slime during a repair on one of the drill pipes and proceeds to kill another of the technicians on the project.

Unit is called in to deal with the security problem.  They are joined by the Doctor, who is using some of the facilities resources to work on his own project on the control console from the Tardis, trying to repair the locks the Time Lords placed upon it, stranding him on Earth.

During these experiments the Doctor is thrown sideways through time and space, materialising on an alternate Earth.  In this new reality, where Great Britain is a republic ruled by a fascist regime, the ‘Inferno’ project is moving ahead at an accelerated rate.  This more advanced project is also home to the British Republican Security Forces, which include ‘Brigade Leader’ Lethbridge-Stewart, ‘Section Leader’ Elizabeth Shaw and ‘Platoon Under Leader’ Benton.

Having to contend with these alternate versions of his friends the Doctor must find a way of contending with the threats coming from the ‘Inferno’ project, and return home before the same fate befalls his own reality.

The Doctor must make the R.S.F. trust him if they are to survive.
‘Inferno’ is one of the best stories from the classic series and Pertwee’s run in particular.  The use of a parallel word allows both the writers and the actors to try new things and give the audience something new. 

The alternate versions of the Brigadier, Liz and Benton are vicious and at times vindictive versions of the characters we have come to love over the course of Pertwee’s first year as the Doctor.  It also allows the writers to deliver on the threats in the story.  In this new reality these familiar characters, even the world itself, can perish.

With anyone and everyone at risk and the Doctor completely alone without any allies or companions makes this a particularly impressive story, with more tension than normal. 

The cast play their parts perfectly, giving the audience two brilliant performances, with some beloved characters being transformed into versions of themselves that you actually want to watch be killed.

The monstrous Primords.
The alternate versions of Unit are not the only threat the Doctor has to face on the alternate earth, he must also contend with the monstrous Primord.  Creatures created when people come into contact with the strange green substance coming up from the very centre of the Earth itself.  The Primords are one of the best monsters used in the history of the show, they will either attack you and rip you to pieces, or change you into one of them.  With a single touch from the Primords meaning a fate worse than death the stakes are once again risen higher as our heroes try to fight for their lives.

An amazing story that shows us new and interesting versions of the Unit family, with a stand out monster and high stakes.  One of the show’s best.  10/10


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