Yes, that staircase was built seven days ago. That explains the peeling paint and the cobwebs.
“The Doctor’s Daughter” is the weak link of this season for me. The designer, as is obvious from the photo above, wasn’t paying attention to the script, casting Nigel Terry to play an old guy who doesn’t remember the beginning of the seven-day war doesn’t make any sense, and the music is the overwrought even for Murray Gold, but I think there’s still a lot to like in the performances, because everyone’s really involved, having fun, and selling this weird scenario. The only performance I don’t like is David Tennant getting snippy about how Jenny, the Doctor’s genetic daughter grown from a sci-fi “progenation machine,” is emphatically not a Time Lord, like he’s offended by the suggestion. Dude, just chill and tell her she’s a Gallifreyan. That much is true!
Naturally, I told our son afterward that Georgia Moffett really is the Doctor’s daughter, and a few years later, she’d become the Doctor’s wife. Then I told him that we’ll be seeing David Troughton in four episodes’ time, and he really is the Doctor’s son and the Doctor’s roommate. He said that blew his circuits and so he deliberately bumped into a wall.
Well, maybe emphasizing the comedy wasn’t necessarily the best idea that the producers of Randall and Hopkirk had, because Donald James’ “Somebody Just Walked Over My Grave” is completely ridiculous. Mike Pratt injured himself really badly after a day’s shooting had concluded, breaking both his legs in a fall. This necessitated using a pretty obvious stand-in for a few scenes, but I wonder whether this also meant that they had to rework the script and give the two comedy bad guys more to do. There’s a lot of material filmed at Knebworth House – where The Champions had shot the year before in “The Night People” – which is just pure farce, as they try and fail to deliver a ransom note. It really does go on for a long, long time.
There’s also the matter of the new Lord Mandrake’s errant son, an agoraphobic dropout who doesn’t dig the establishment and just wants to paint, man. Underneath the most over-the-top hippie ‘fro that the ITC costume department had ever built, that’s Nigel Terry of all people. Other familiar faces this time out: Patricia Haines, Michael Sheard, and Cyril Shaps. It’s a clever story, and we enjoyed trying to guess how all the disparate parts would eventually fit together, but is it ever silly.
Actually, the biggest double-bluff that the show pulls is having the new Lord Mandrake help a freshly-trounced Jeff to his feet, take him back to his estate, make him an extremely curious job offer… and it not be part of the criminal scheme that the show has let us glimpse. It’s all set up to be really suspicious, but Lord Mandrake’s being perfectly honest. He stumbled across a detective and figured that maybe he could help him out with his rotten kid. Crazy, man.