1)I remember not having the least clue what was supposed to be going on in this when I first saw it. I think I pretty much get it now, but I still think it could use a good bit of editing to clear it up.
2)Of course, the fun characters in this are Rosencrantz Aldo and Guildenstern Royce - they liven up what is otherwise a fairly mediocre show. Alot of their wittering on about who does or doesn't get bonuses reminds me a bit of Alien, which came out two years before this. "It's non-stop, Aldo, non-stop."
3)I'd never heard of the I Ching when I first saw this - I still don't know much about it now, but from the little I've read I side with Romana on this one.
4)Rorvik and Sagan were named for science writers David Rorvik and Carl Sagan.
5)I find the Tharil make-up unconvincing.
6)I like how the goblet the Doctor sets upright in Part One becomes the goblet he knocks over in Part Three.
7)Although the Japanese "Gundam" pre-dates this, I first heard of it after seeing this story, and I remember getting "Gundan" confused with it.
8)Leeson is amusing as "messed up" K-9.
9)Wow, there's some real brutality in this - the screams of the Tharils get to be difficult to listen to after awhile, particularly in contrast to the callous self-absorption of most of the human characters. And we later see that the Tharils were pretty brutal themselves in their day.
10)I like the "banquet hall" music.
11)Some fun quotes:
An OK first draft. Christopher Hamilton Bidmead has said that he wishes they'd built up to Romana's departure a little better and I tend to agree. Along the same lines, John Leeson has said that he wishes K-9 could've had a better leaving than being broken down most of the story and I tend to agree with that, too.
[Part of list of Doctor Who episodes here.]
This definitely had a "What the F*** am I watching??" feel to it. Over the years, it's become a favorite of mine, for a number of different reasons. This is in spite of what was going on behind-the-scenes, of course. To me, in better, saner world, Romana would have found a way to give Birol the knowledge he needed to help free his people... and she and K-9 would have continued on together with The Doctor.
I'm not sure I'd have had Adric in this story at all. Part of me would have preferred if he'd stayed onboard the space-liner with his own people. The only story I ever actually thought Adric worked in was "THE KEEPER OF TRAKEN", so I might have kept him around for that... but then left him behind, to stay with Tremas (who would NOT have been murdered at the end) and Nyssa (who he did seem to get along with, at least in that story). I find it so easy these days to picture how a better, alternate version of this run of the show might have been, if JNT hadn't been so HELL-BENT on getting rid of everything that "worked" in Season 17.
There was something of "Alice In Wonderland" / "Alice Through The Looking Glass" about this. Picture Birol as the White Rabbit, showing up, running off, being followed, ever elusive. Romana would be Alice, Rorvik the Queen of Hearts, the 2 maintenence guys as Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and of course, Tom is the Cheshire Cat. (And there is a mirror they go through...)
This aired in America a number of years before some much-earlier stories that seem to have been referenced in it, at least visually. When I first saw "THE KEYS OF MARINUS", the sequence in the ice cave with the frozen warriors who thaw out, come to life, and attack, reminded me a lot of the Gundan Robots. And of course, the blank white landscape in "THE MIND ROBBER" was an obvious influence on the blank white landscape here.
"the screams of the Tharils get to be difficult to listen to after awhile"
Kind of reminds me of WITCHFINDER GENERAL / THE CONQUEROR WORM. That film struck me as being disturbing on a lot of levels, one of which was that, instead of "movie" screaming, they seemed to go for "real life screaming". And it went on and on and on.
Almost hard to believe this entire story was a late, last-minute replacement for an entirely different story that fell thru, which would have taken place on Gallifrey and involved The Doctor falsely accused of Romana's murder.
I had to look it up, otherwise I would never have recognized him. David Weston, who played "Biroc", was also "Gino", the nominal "hero" and love interest of "Francesca" (Jane Asher) in Roger Corman's THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH (1964).