Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The Creature from the pit

When I was first getting into Doctor Who, "The Creature from the Pit" was just another Doctor Who story I was sitting down to enjoy. Ten years later I can look back at The Creature from the Pit and safely say that out of the first few Doctor Who story's that I saw this one had to have been the first truly bad story that I had come across, even The Invisible Enemy was better than this. First up, "Erato", what was David Fisher thinking when he came up with Erato. You only have to watch the making of feature on the DVD release of this story to know, that the Doctor Who visual effects team thought that this one was a bad idea and should only have been attempted if a lot of money had been thrown at it. The end result of the show's visual effects team's best efforts has got to be the worst alien ever in the history of Doctor Who. Having said that, given the fact that the shows visual effects team were being asked to do the impossible, it's a miracle that the end result is as good as it is, it could probably have been even worse. My other big criticism of The Creature from the Pit is the writer David Fisher's seemingly more or less complete lack of scientific principles. The obvious instance of this is when Erato launches itself into space and weaves an aluminium shell around a neutron star in order to minimise its gravitational pull (what the hell?) and allow the Tardis to pull it off course with a tractor beam (Hmm...). Some of the other things I don't like about The Creature from the Pit are that most of the characters in this story are to be honest a bit one-dimensional, with the dialogue being quite dodgy in parts (And that's me being nice about it), the wolf weeds are just plain silly and the band of thieves that feature in the story are simply stupid. Even the Doctor and Romana are poorly written for in this story. It’s obvious watching The Creature from the pit that David Fisher has written Romana with Mary Tamm's version of the character in mind, this is however not his fault as when he wrote the script for The Creature from the Pit it had yet to be firmly established as to whether Mary Tamm was leaving or not. The Doctor seams to lose his mind completely at the end of part 1 when he leaps into the pit of his own accord, knowing full well that to be consigned there is regarded as tantamount to a sentence of execution. Basically my view of The Creature from the Pit is that it’s pretty much a near total mess but there are a couple of things I like about it, the characters Oraganon (played by Geoffrey Bayldon) and Adastra (played by Myra Frances), with Adastra being excellently evil. The other thing I liked about The Creature from the Pit was the Jungle set, which was filmed at Ealing, it really did look quite impressive, it looked like the whole sequence had been filmed on location as a posed to being filmed in a studio and gave the first episode a very atmospheric quality which wasn't noticeable in the following three episodes of the story. If one word can be used to summarise this adventure it would be "disappointing", because it boasted some fine sets, good actors and a rather interesting plot with some twists, it’s just a shame that The Creature from the Pit couldn't have been better than it was.

In my next post I shall be talking about Nightmare of Eden.

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