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27 April 2013

Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start... 

Day 117: The Celestial Toyroom (The Celestial Toymaker, Episode One)

Dear diary,

Ohh, I've been dreading this one. So far (with the occasional blip here or there), Season Three has been doing pretty well. The boredom that had started to seep in with Season Two has dissipated, and I'm really enjoying the programme at the moment. But then there's The Celestial Toymaker. For a long long time, this story had a golden reputation. People would fall over themselves to take credit for it.

But then the fourth episode was found.

Overnight, people changed their stories to pin the credit on somebody else. Anybody else. As long as it wasn't them. I'm guessing you can understand why I've not been too keen to reach this one. Thing is, though, I've not seen the fourth episode. I know some of the various criticisms that get levelled at it, but I've yet to witness them first-hand. And it actually seems to be doing the trick.

By the time this episode ended, by which time I'd expected to be sobbing and wondering if it was too late to drop out of this diary, I was more intrigued than anything else. I'm not sure I've actually got a clue what's really going on (it didn't help that the moment the rules of Steven and Dodo's game were announced happened to coincide with me reaching the self-service till in Asda), but I think I've enjoyed it.

One of the things that gets said a lot about the fourth episode is that the story simply looks cheap. Here, again, is the benefit of listening to this one as an audio - I don't know! It could look great! There's a moment in this one, where the Toymaker tells the Doctor and his companions that they can go back to the TARDIS if they want. Peter Purves' narration then explains a screen showing them hundreds of TARDISes.

That's how he described it, yet my mind automatically went for lots and lots of police boxes revolving around them. We already know that they're in an octagonal room with no features, so what if the walls of the room are suddenly lined with facsimiles of the ship? In my mind, that scene looked great.

They seem to be trying to inject a lot of tension into this story, too. Early on, the Doctor warns Steven and Dodo that nothing here is 'just for fun', and we later find out that the Doctor has visited the Toymaker's realm before. We're told that he didn't stay long enough on that occasion to play any of the games, but it's interesting to find a place like this that the Doctor actively knows of - and a place that he's scared of. It really helps to sell the threat to us, and isn't something we've seen before.

Even the ending of the episode sounds quite sinister, with the lights dimming, claps of thunder, and the clowns being reduced to lifeless mannequins which then shrink back down to the size of dolls. The narration describes Dodo as shuddering as she leaves the room, and in my mind at least, it's a pretty creepy scene.

Ah, Dodo. She really is just a companion, now, There's no attempt to suggest that she's new to all this TARDIS travel stuff. Right at the start of the episode (or to be more exact, at the very end of the last episode), she emerges from the wardrobe again, thrilled with her latest discovery. It's 'fab', apparently. When they think they've arrived in an empty place, she's keen to move on to somewhere more exciting. It really is a shame that she's not being given more of a character so far.

Still, it's a much better start than I'd feared to this story - even if it is all in my head so far. Here's hoping things don't go too awry before the last episode rolls around!

Next Episode: The Hall of Dolls

Next Episode: The Hall of Dolls 
Sterling Orpen United States
3/24/2020 3:01:08 AM #

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라이브 카지노 United States
4/18/2020 4:28:21 AM #

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