Monday, 28 March 2011

Dr. Who: Inferno

'Inferno' was the final story in Pertwee's successful first season as the Doctor. Picking up on the ecological theme of 'The Silurians' (the Pertwee years featured a number of stories on what would now be called green issues) it tells the story of an attempt to drill through the Earth's core in search of a new energy source, a project that narrowly misses being the end of the world (in our dimension at least).

The Doctor, trying to escape from his exile, routes nuclear power through the TARDIS console and finds himself trapped in an alternate fascist Britain where the Brigadier has an eyepatch and Liz Shaw is dressed like a Nazi Air Hostess. They're drilling here too, and everyone who touches the green goo oozing from the shaft turns very hairy indeed.

It's a good story but slightly overlong, although, interestingly, the whole parallel universe storyline was invented to fill the prescribed seven episodes. It marks the last appearance of Caroline John as Liz who, as a scientist, was thought too brainy to be an assistant. A good assistant, apparently, has to ask all the questions the audience are asking, like 'what's going on?', 'what does that mean?' and 'why has Sergeant Benton turned into Roy Wood from Wizzard?'.

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