The Cringe, For-evva

One thing the Tour never seems to tire of are the ties, direct and indirect, intended and unintended, which bind nu-Who back to the classic series.  The clearest examples of this are the actors which had have a foot in both camps.  Nothing ratified that nu-Who tied back to the classic series more than when Sarah Jane appeared in  School Reunion or, to a lesser extent, Arthur Cox, who had appeared in The Dominators,  in The Eleventh Hour.

Series 13 had another excellent example of this with Kevin McNally as Professor Jericho–who we now know will be in 3 episodes on the current run, but who also appeared in Colin Bakers debut story The Twin Dilemma back in 1984.  And let’s just be honest about this, these 2021 stories for Series 13 are better, by A LOT, than the sheer terribleness which was The Twin Dilemma.  This isn’t down to McNally who, despite the 37-year interregnum, was not at the beginning of his career (he appeared in ‘I Claudius’ back in 1976) but in the very conception of the story and its placement in Season 21 back in 1984.

Season 21 was, by the Tour’s reckoning, Peter Davison’s best series with a string of really strong stories ending in, as regular Tour readers know all-too-well, The Caves of AndrozaniCaves and Davison’s regeneration, should have ended the season and given the glimpse of Colin Baker to tease Season 22 to come, but John Nathan-Turner took the bold step, and it was bold, to give Baker a full story to get going.  It was a terrible mistake.

The contrast between these stories back-to-back couldn’t have been more stark and, down to the new Doctors personality–and the 9 month gap to Season 22–left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth to linger, which the Tour would argue haunted his time through to his own ‘regeneration’ in 1986.  Had Attack of the Cybermen been only 7 days out instead of 277, this stinker might largely be regarded as just an odd one-off, instead of being legendarily awful.

What an unforced error.