Doctor Who: The Dominators (part four)

“The Dominators” is credited to Norman Ashby, but that’s a pseudonym. Season six of Doctor Who was plagued by behind-the-scenes troubles with the writing, and the production team of Peter Bryant and Derrick Sherwin were unhappy with this script. It started as a six-parter by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln, who had written the twelve Yeti episodes the previous year. Bryant and Sherwin compacted the final three episodes into two, which upset the writers. They asked for the serial to be transmitted with a pseudonym and ceased work on six additional episodes.

Honestly, I don’t see why this serial has such a negative reputation. Part three was a little dry, but this one is huge fun. Jamie gets some good action material waging a guerrilla war against the Quarks, and the Doctor and Zoe get to be agreeably brainy deducing what the Dominators are after. But my favorite scene comes when Ronald Allen’s Dominator comes storming into the planet’s capital to yell at the complacent boobs debating Robert’s Rules of Order.

Earlier, I’d paused to explain to our son that these sedentary senators are kind of meant to be boring. Honestly, it doesn’t make for very engaging television. Magically, tonight, he just sighed after about the third “but surely” and said “This is kind of boring,” at which point Ronald Allen threw open the doors and came in sneering. He’s really great in this, eyes blazing and lip curled. He may be wearing a silly spaceman costume, but he oozes danger. He’s a sadistic bully with a hair trigger, and I’m enjoying watching him a lot. He’s a great actor and you can see why he was asked to come back in the following season in a very different role.

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