Number : Season 17, episode 5 of 6.
Which One : The Minotaurs in space.
Cast : The Doctor : Tom Baker
Romana : Lalla Ward
K9 MK-II : David Brierly (voice)
Soldeed : Graham Crowden
Sorak : Michael Osborne
Co-Pilot : Malcolm Terris
Pilot : Bob Hornery
Seth : Simon Gipps-Kent
Teka : Janet Ellis
Sezom : John Bailey
Voice of the Nimon : Clifford Norgate
Written By : Anthony Read
Produced By : Graeme Williams
First UK Broadcast : 22 December 1979 – 12 January 1980.
Length : 4 x 25 minute parts.
Plot : The Doctor and Romana stop by a stricken transport vessel, to offer help and find it full of children, being transported to Skonnos as “tributes” – for the mysterious Nimon.
Whats good : Like Hinchcliffe’s Who – it borrows from the legend of the Minotaur in the maze. It has some good ideas. The Tardis power forcefield corridor for embarking and disembarking in space.
Whats bad : Its a little too theatrical and silly at times. Soldeed. The Nimon’s have that awful – “man-in-a-suit” wearing high-heels quality.
Review With Spoilers : Horns Of Nimon is the last broadcast episode of season 17, due to unfinished finale; Shada.
As an impromptu season finale, it’s not the strongest episode in season 17. It does have a good core story to it – though, borrowing from the Earthly Greek legend of the Minotaur in the maze. It takes a lead from previous producer Philip Hinchcliffe’s reign, when the gothica back catalogue was plundered for some much needed inspiration.
The problems with Horns Of Nimon stem from the tone that it was filmed in, which is a little too tongue-in-cheek and doesn’t respect the attempted seriousness of the material in question.
The Nimon should be perceived as a much greater threat to the galaxy than they are in this. Visiting new planets, offering friendship/tech – before overrunning the planet with a Nimon killing force, using up the planets resources and then moving on.
As a result, the Nimons come across kind of silly. Staggering about on their obvious high heeled cloven boots. Shooting rays out of there horns. Look out! The Nimon is bending forward to shoot, on its precarious high heels – lets just step out of the way!
[To the newly arrived Nimon army] “Welcome to Skonnos, my friends. Welcome to the new home of the Nimon race – the next step in The Great Journey of Life!” The Nimon
Again, they have that unfortunate man-in-a-suit look that betrayed the Mandrels in Nightmare Of Eden, although the Mandrels just edge the Nimons – in terms of look.
Mad sorceror and Jonathon Pryce look-a-like and sound-alike – Graham Crowden; gives proceedings a hammy pantomine quality, which is not needed here as the ruler of Skonnos.
There are some good bits in Horns Of Nimon, such as the constantly evolving maze in which the Nimon lives. Every corridor changes and a double back means either a sheer wall or a new set of corridors.
Or the backstory to the Skonnos empire. Once, a warmongering people but now unable to wage war as their society is bankrupt and their tech – aging. Hence their rush to get straight into bed with the Nimons bearing gifts.
Or the “tributes” (children), willingly sent from planet Aneth, for the Nimon to kill and use. Which as a result, will make the Skonnans more powerful. Soldeed himself, wrongly believing that with The Nimon getting what it requires, Skonnos will benefit as a consequence. Then Skonnos will be able to raise an army to attack Aneth – and conquer and destroy it.
The “tributes” to the Nimon, invoke shades of The Hunger Games with their matching orange boiler suits, look out for a pre-80’s Blue Peter appearance by child actor; Janet Ellis.
Horns of Nimon is another good concept with flawed execution. It’s not unwatchable but was betrayed by the jokey tongue-in-cheek tone laid down by the Graham Williams era.
With a more committed and serious approach, it might have created a season finale gem. Shame.
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