Colin Bakerâ€™s tenure in Doctor Who is well documented. It wasnâ€™t the easiest TARDIS residency, being saddled with some of the poorest stories of the showâ€™s history as well as being given the costume from hell. Looking back with the benefit if hindsight, it seems as if they were trying to oust him before he even started!
Colin seems to have had the last laugh though, and went on to do some of the best audio adventures with Big Finish and has become one of the paramount value for money guests at conventions. But back to his TV run and this, his first screen adventure is sadly also his last DVD release, The Twin Dilemma.
Is the Doctor really losing his mind? After his fifth regeneration his behaviour certainly seems strange. He tries to strangle Peri, and then lands the TARDIS on the asteroid Titan 3 determined to pursue the quiet life of a hermit. But a mysterious giant dome on the horizon seems to shatter his peace. The Doctor is quickly drawn into a plot to conquer the universe by a race of giant gastropods. Their leader, Mestor, intends to cause an enormous explosion in order to spread his peopleâ€™s eggs throughout the galaxy. But just exactly what is their connection to the kidnapping of twins Romulus and Remus, famed for their mathematical genius?
As the Sixth Doctor adventures are often looked down upon by reviewers and fans, letâ€™s look at this one from a positive point of view. First up, Colin Baker gives the Doctor the alien-like quality that was lacking from the Davison era. Here was a guy who has just been â€œre-bornâ€ and something has gone wrong. Baker excels in the first episode, you really donâ€™t know if heâ€™s good, bad or something worse and itâ€™s a shame that they didnâ€™t go further to dissect his mind. Bryant is good value as the confused companion who almost gets throttled, she was given little to do during her years on Doctor Who except â€œlook goodâ€ for the dads. Sheâ€™s a great actress and is given some good lines here.
But the story as a whole is just Doctor Who by numbers. The twins have that upper-class accent you always associate with prodigies and most of the supporting cast too. Legendary actor Maurice Denham handles himself well as does Kevin McNally in roles that are woefully underwritten and quite pedestrian. Looking at the sets and the effects, especially the make-up effects it seems that the season was running out of money. Mestor in particular looks pretty poor and to be honest, cheap. Shame really as here was a chance to get a really juicy alien life-form back into the series.
Commentary: Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant are joined by Kevin McNally who played Hugo for this interesting and good humoured gag-track which is filled with anecdotes as well as amusing memories.
The Star Man: Sid Sutton, the man behind the Neon/Star Field opening sequence gets his chance to shine at last and let us in on how he did that wonderful and memorable title piece and all its variations.
Look 100 Years Younger: Comedian and knitter (!) Amy Lame and Colin Baker chat informally about the various costumes the Doctors have worn over time. A light piece of fluff that is a leisurely stroll down memory lane.
Stripped For Action â€“ The Sixth Doctor: The excellent series on Doctor Who comic strips continues with a look at the adventures of the curly headed one. Best thing is that I got to recall what the character of Frobisher was like before he was frozen into penguin form!
Breakfast Time: Recall the cheesy days of early Breakfast Television with Frank Bough and Selina Scott as they interview Colin and Nicola about their new adventures. Again this is a light piece of TV journalism that doesnâ€™t probe the stars deeply but shows the gentle side of 80â€™s television. The viewerâ€™s questions section is great fun watching Miss Scott trying her best to look like she understands the series. A fun memory but one you wonâ€™t be returning to very often.
Blue Peter: The classic show turns trumps again with an interview with Colin before he appeared on TV as the Doctor. Janet Ellis is helming this one and touches upon the costume as well as Colinâ€™s cat motif. Happy memories for those of us old enough to recall the original broadcast but for those of you too young might wonder how TV got away with such shows!
Continuity: The reliable batch of continuity announcements are here, does anyone actually sit through all of these?
Photo Gallery: Exactly what youâ€™d expect to see with plenty of behind the scenes snaps from this production.
Coming Soon: A snazzy trailer for the forthcoming The Keys Of Marinus, altogether now, â€œThe jungle is comingâ€¦!â€
Subtitle Production Notes: Ah, my favourite. This must view extra is always worth investing some time in so do check it out for some incredible research.
DVD Promo: This little montage of Classic Who has a wonderfully acid like remix of the theme and used to promote the DVD back catalogue. Foot-tapping fun but a piece that can only be accessed when the disc is loading.
Easter Egg: Oh yes folks there is one and as usual Iâ€™m not saying what it is.
The Twin Dilemma is a curious beast of an adventure. It was historic as it was Colinâ€™s first adventure and also because it was only the second time (the first being Season 4’s The Tenth Planet) the lead character had regenerated during a season. Itâ€™s such a shame the story is so flat, it could have been so much better if it had charted the Doctorâ€™s deranged mind-set as his regeneration didnâ€™t work properly and we could have had an even darker story.
Available to buy now, The Twin Dilemma can be bought online from Amazon for just Â£12..68!