Number : Season 11, episode 1 of 5.
Which One : Tom Baker in a Pertwee UNIT adventure.
Cast : The Doctor : Tom Baker
Sarah-Jane : Liz Sladen
Harry : Ian Marter
Brigadier : Nicholas Courtney
Benton : John Levene
Professor : Edward Burnham
Miss Winters : Patricia Maynard
Jellicoe : Alec Linstead
The Robot : Michael Kilgarriff
Short : Timothy Craven
Written By : Terrence Dicks
Produced By : Philip Hinchcliffe
First UK Broadcast : 28 Dec 1974 – 13 Jan 1975.
Length : 4 x 25 minute parts.
Plot : The newly-regenerated Fourth Doctor, is not acting strangely. As a result, is put under the care of UNIT Doctor; Harry Sullivan. Meanwhile, UNIT are investigating a series of break-ins – involving the loss of robotic equipment.
Whats good : Tom Baker’s first outing. New regeneration erratic behaviour. Harry joins the crew.
Whats bad : Very un-memorable Pertwee cast-off UNIT adventure. The last regular appearance of UNIT. Some of the robot SFX, are poor.
Review With Spoilers : Robot is a very average opener, to Season 12 and Tom Baker’s first outing; as the Doctor.
Watching – what in effect, feels like a very pedestrian Pertwee adventure. Gives little indication, of how good the rest of Season 12; will turn out to be. With the excellent; Ark In Space, Sontaran Experiment, Genesis Of The Daleks & Revenge Of The Cybermen – to follow.
“A new body is like a new house… takes a little bit of time to settle in. As for the physiognomy? Well… nothing’s perfect. Have to take the rough with the smooth. Mind you… I think the nose is a definite improvement. As for the ears? Well I’m not too sure. Tell me quite frankly… what do you say to the ears?” The Doctor
In this respect, Robot is the definite weak link in this chain. It’s not that it is bad, it’s just not – that good; alongside the other gems of Season 12.
The early parts of the serial, given over to Tom Baker’s post-regenerstion confusion/crisis. Is entertaining enough. Nobody can play unhinged like Tom Baker. Scenes between Baker and eventual companion Harry, are light and funny. Baker, dressed like a Viking; has to be seen to be believed.
Things start to unravel – a bit. As the story about the robot and the mysterious thefts, finally pick-up; this is not as interesting – as the earlier part of the story; about the Fourth Doctor’s post-regeneration.
Robot has also become a bit of a by-word, for really naff Doctor Who special effects. Namely, the scenes with the Robot after it grows to super-size proportions.
The bad CSO overlay effects, are not helped by obvious toy-tanks and a laughably bad Sarah-Jane doll (which the robot grabs and waves around King Kong style!) – have all aged, really badly.
Robot is not the worst Doctor Who serial ever; it would pass pretty much – as an okay Pertwee serial. Robot is maybe a victim of being part of the excellent season 12; which does make it standout (maybe a tad unfairly). Robot does give UNIT a nice final regular appearance send-off.
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