“That’s your philosophy isn’t it? If it moves, hit it!” The Doctor to Duggan.
This Tom Baker/Fourth Doctor story was one of a number used by Russell T. Davies to pitch the New series. It is also considered to be Who’s most-regarded and popular stories.
A spaghetti-faced Alien called Scaroth is sat in a spaceship, warning his crew about taking off with engines disabled, but they do so anyway and the ship explodes.
The Fourth Doctor and Romana are taking a holiday in Paris in 1979 when they experience Time jumping a track, repeating itself. They go to the Louvre and encounter Countess Scarlioni in front of the Mona Lisa. Followed by Private Investigator Duggan, they examine a bracelet which the Doctor nicked off the Countess. Realising it is not Earth technology, they are captured and taken to meet Count Scarlioni, discovering his Time experiments and copies of the Mona Lisa in the cellar, all a plan to finance Scarlioni’s, actually Scaroth, attempt to change history, but Duggan knocks him out and his opportunity is missed.
The Doctor and Romana resume their holiday and Duggan enjoys the sights from the Eiffel Tower.
It is a charming, comedic romp; Doctor Who’s first overseas filming in Paris, a lot of running round, ticking off locations like The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the River Seine and so on.
It has some wonderful and witty moments, such as when John Cleese appears as an Art Critic. The studio scenes fit in with the locations and the Jagaroth spaceship is quite a cool model.
It is a classic adventure, full of humour thanks to Script Editor Douglas Adams and Tom Baker making the dialogue sparkle like a good bottle of champagne. It is one of the best of the entire series and still enjoyable after 34 years. Showing that even a table wine can still have considerable flavour. A true classic.
“One of my funny turns? The whole world took a funny turn.” The Doctor- Episode One.
The Novelisation, on the other hand, is totally different. The storyline is the same, but doesn’t have the same frenetic pace as the TV version.
One of the reasons is that it fleshes out the backstories of not just the main characters but also a few minor ones, like the artist in the café, and even Cleese’s Art Critic, giving him his own subplot.
I wasn’t too sure what to make of it all, but it seems a reasonable thing to do, as Goss worked mainly from notes and the different drafts of the script.
While the Characters are as portrayed in the TV story, Scaroth/Scarlioni doesn’t get much expansion, neither does the Jagaroth. Apart from my two adventures, firstly in the Key to Time sequence in Triumph of the Daleks and then in Saviour of the Jagaroth, I can’t find any expansion of the Jagaroth anywhere beyond the DVD extra features!
So I’m trying to think of other ideas for the mono-eyed monstrosities, so watch this space/time!