The Time Monster – 1972 – S9 – E5/5

imageNumber : Season 9, episode 5 of 5

Which One : Atlantis and the flying white bird-god of death.

Cast : The Doctor : Jon Pertwee
Jo : Katy Manning
The Master : Roger Delgado
The Brigadier : Nicholas Courtney
Captain Mike Yates : Richard Franklin
Sergeant Benton : John Levene
Kronos : Marc Boyle/Ingrid Bower
Stuart Hyde : Ian Collier
Dr Ruth Ingram : Wanda Moore
Dr Percival : John Wyse
Dr Cook : Neville Barber
Proctor : Barry Ashton
Window Cleaner : Terry Walsh
Farm Worker : George Lee
UNIT Sergeant : Simon Legree
King Dalios : George Cormack
Queen Galleia : Ingrid Pitt
Krasis : Donald Eccles
Hippias : Aidan Murphy
Lakis : Susan Penhaligon
Crito : Derek Murcott
Miseus : Michael Walker
Minotaur : Dave Prowse
Neophyte : Keith Dalton
Baby Benton : Darren Plant

Written By : Robert Sloman & Barry Letts

Produced By : Barry Letts

First UK Broadcast : 20 May–24 June 1972

Length : 6 x 25 minute parts.

Plot : The Master attempts to bring a deadly bird-god of time – called Kronos back, by experimenting on a segment of a stolen ancient Atlantian crystal.

Whats good : Ambitious. Atlantis angle. Idea of Kronos. Doctor’s backstory. King Dalios.

Whats bad : Too ambitious. Kronos appearance. Minotaur. UNIT are useless.

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Review With Spoilers : The Time Monster is the 5th episode of season 9 and the season finale.

The Master is back up to his old tricks; masquerading as a Grecian University professor and using a stolen Atlantian crystal segment, to perform time experiments with a machine he has created, bizarrely called ‘Tom-tit’.

The Master is attempting to summon and harnass the power of the time god Kronos. Who appears as a brilliant-white archangel of death, who was (formerly) worshipped by the Atlantians.

This was prior to their discovery that Kronos was evil and slows time to a standstill, eats people and dramatically ages bystanders; whilst destroying everything in the vicinity. It was no surprise that the elders of Atlantis called for a ban on further Kronos worship and the crystal which manifrsts Kronos – to be locked away.

The Master intends to harnass the power of Kronos to do his bidding, by kidnapping a high priest of Atlantis – Krasis – to help him. However, the Doctor and UNIT are on the Master’s tail and have other ideas.

Later on – a trip into the past takes the Doctor and Jo to Atlantis to try and stop the Master stealing the rest of the Kronos summoning Atlantian crystal.

The first thing you notice about The Time Monster is how ambitious this Who project actually is. Aside from the Master and his Kronos experiments, we have the whole story underpinned by the legend of Atlantis and in this Who tinged history lesson; Atlantis being destroyed by The Master unleashing Kronos on them.

We also have a whole story set around the University. In which the Master unleashes his historical warriors of time on the encroaching UNIT forces; including medieval Knights, Roundheads and a WWII Doodlebug rocket.

Kronos itself, could have been a really effective monster in the right medium. If it had been kept as an energy being of indetermined form, with fleeting glimpses and plenty of fast cuts – just like the monster in The Mothman Prophecies.

There are elements of this in Kronos’ appearances and it looks kind of neat. However, this is also interspersed with a man-in-a-whitesuit flying around on a wire, which looks kind of comical – to say the least.

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[Describing the Doctor]”Do you know? He has an excellent brain, that man ……! Though a little pedestrian! But oh dear, what a bore the fellow is…..!” The Master

The Delgado Master is good value here, in his second last appearance in the series. Delgado plays off well against both the material and Pertwee’s Doctor. It’s clear the 2 actors had a decent helping of mutual respect for each other, as it comes across on screen – in their shared scenes.

The later scenes in Atlantis are well done and the set design is impressive and on a scale not usually witnessed in Who. Although the Minotaur subplot feels badly wedged in, as a cliffhanger and the Minotaur’s design leaves alot to be desired.

Hammer Horror actress – Ingrid Pitt is quite a sight to behold, as the dastardly Queen Gallileo but it is George Cormack’s turn as the aged and wise Atlantian King – Dalios, which deserves mention.

Simple because of the clever way the dialogue and scenes, give Cormack a chance to really show Dalios’ impossibly wise beyond his years edge. Especially when he refuses to capitulate to the highly manipulative Master. It shows that the Atlantians are not mere savages but in the king’s case – almost as learned as the Timelords – themselves.

The Doctor also spends a bit of time out in a nice scene, when he explains to Jo about his childhood; growing up on Gallifrey and his ex-tutor – a hermit who lived under a tree. These are all backstory titbits which help flesh out his mysterious past and also lead into his eventual regeneration story – to come.

The nice touches in the story are undone though, by the poor special effects (Kronos and the Minotaur) and bizarrely heavy handed humour which permeates throughout (Tom-tit, Benton’s baby act and UNIT acting as dumb as ever, when it comes to apprehending the Master).

Also the eventual demise of Atlantis seems to strangely unaffect the Doctor. Especially the fact that The Master pretty much murdered them all. You would think that when a freed Kronos offers to imprison the Master for eternity, the Doctor would jump at the chance – but he doesn’t.

The Time Monster can best be described as a flawed Masterpiece which tries hard to create a stylish season finale and for the most part, succeeds – bar some horrible handled and clunky moments, which undermine the potential of the story.

🔵🔵🔵⚪⚪ (3/5)

Old Doctor Who


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