Number : Season 24, episode 4 of 4.
Which One : Ice World with the “actual” cliffhanger.
Cast : The Doctor : Sylvester McCoy
Mel : Bonnie Langford
Sabalom Glitz : Tony Selby
Kane : Edward Peel
Belazs : Patricia Quinn
Kracauer : Tony Osoba
McLuhan : Stephanie Fayerman
Bazin : Stuart Organ
Arnheim : Chris MacDonnell
Pudovkin : Nigel Miles-Thomas
Zed : Sean Blowers
Anderson : Ian MacKenzie
Customer : Shirin Taylor
Stellar : Miranda Borman
The Creature : Leslie Meadows
Archivist : Daphne Oxenford
Announcer : Lynn Gardner
Written By : Ian Briggs
Produced By : JNT
First UK Broadcast : 23 November – 7 December 1987.
Length : 3 x 25 minute parts.
Plot : The Doctor and Mel land on Iceworld – a frozen planet with a bustling spaceport, ruled over by the nefarious Kane. Here he meets an old friend; Sabalom Glitz and future companion Ace – who tell him about a prize diamond guarded by a dragon.
Whats good : Mel leaves. Kane and Kane’s death. Ace joins.
Whats bad : The actual cliffhanger – “cliffhanger”. Too clever for its own good. The Dragon looks suspiciously H.R Giger influenced.
Review With Spoilers : Dragonfire is the 4th and final episode of season 24. It marks the departure of companion Mel and the introduction of Ace, as her replacement. Also back, is Sabalom Glitz who we last saw in Trial Of Timelord.
Edward Peel does a really good job playing the literally cold (in more respects than personality) villain ; Kane. Kane’s Raiders Of The Lost Ark melting face death; although a bit grotesque, was much applauded at the time for use of clever special effects
This Who is mostly notable for the inclusion of an actual cliffhanger, during a cliffhanger ending. Involving the Doctor (unwisely) attempting to negotiate a platform, for a lower level by hanging off of the end of his question mark brolly but slipping down.
It was probably thought at the time, to be a really clever homage to the classic Who cliffhangers of the past but stupid as to why the Doctor would nearly kill himself – to get to a new location.
“Bring the Dragonfire and you can have the girl. Special closing down sale, you might call it. But hurry – while stocks last!” Kane
The Dragon that Sabalom Glitz tells the Doctor about, turns out to look awfully like a Xenomorph from the Alien franchise. Along with the same melting face death SFX from Indiana Jones, Dragonfire borrows heavily from its contemporary peers.
Its finally nice to see the back of companion Mel, who inexplicably decides to take off with Sabalom Glitz. A rest from her ear-shattering scream is long overdue. The inclusion of Ace as new companion (arguably the best and least annoying of the Doctor’s 80’s companions) is a positive step.
There is enough here to suggest that Dragonfire just edges all of the other season 24 episodes, as the best 24 has to offer.