Robot Reboot

The Tour continues our quite lackadaisical sojourn through Season 12 of the classic series with a new set of HD Re-classic-ation caps for Robot.  This was the story that really set the narrative in the classic series that the first story for a new Doctor would be tonally distinct, and not in a good way, from that Doctors era overall.  This was especially true for stinkers like The Twin Dilemma and Time and the Rani.

The reasons why Robot would be so different from Tom Baker stories going forward is obvious in hindsight.  Instead of being the first story shot for a season, it was the sixth and last story shot by the Letts/Dicks team as part of Season 11 and held back for Season 12.  And it certainly feels more of a piece with that sensibility than the Hinchcliffe/Holmes team waiting in the wings.

Even within that context of a mixed heritage Robot is a bit of an odd duck.  Shot entirely on tape, it necessarily lacks the visual polish that so benefited Spearhead From Space and the humor, while interesting, is not of a piece with either what came before or what would be coming.  Tom Baker is up for all of it, so it gave the audience a chance to see his range, but he seems especially googly-eyed here as well as a bit manic.  This is why Robot is atypical, but still elicits a smile upon re-watching.

Did we mention the schizoid Robot which grows (and glows via the miracle of rudimentary CSO) to giant-size?  All part of the charm of course.