Number : Season 9, serial 5 of 5
Which One : 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 episodes.
Plot : The Master attempts to summon a deadly bird-god – of time; called Kronos. By experimenting, on a segment of a ancient Atlantian crystal.
Whats good : Ambitious. Atlantis angle. Idea of Kronos. Some of the Doctor’s backstory uncovered. King Dalios.
Whats bad : Too ambitious. Kronos appearance. Minotaur. UNIT are useless.
Review With Spoilers : The Time Monster is the fifth 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 and (bizarrely) nicknamed; “Tom-tit”.
The Master is attempting to summon and harnass the power of Kronos; which appears – as a brilliant-white archangel of death. Who, incidentally – 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 manifests Kronos; to be hidden away.
The Master – intends to harnass the power of Kronos, to do his bidding; by kidnapping a high-priest of Atlantis; called Krasis. However, the Doctor and UNIT – are on the Master’s trail – 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 Doctor 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 Doctor Who – history lesson; Atlantis is 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-cutting); 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-suit flying around on a wire; which looks kind of comical – to say the least.
[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 the ‘second-last’ appearance – in the series. Delgado plays off well, against both the material – and Pertwee’s Doctor. It is clear, that the two 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. The set design is impressive and on a scale, not usually witnessed in Doctor 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. However, it is George Cormack’s turn – as the aged and wise Atlantian King; Dalios, which deserves special mention.
Simply, 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 wise and learned; as the Timelords – themselves.
The Doctor, also spends a bit of time – in a nice scene, when he sits and explains to Jo about his childhood. Growing up on Gallifrey and his ex-tutor; a hermit who lived under a tree. These are all back-story titbits, which begin to flesh out the mysterious past – and also lead into the eventual regeneration story; to come.
The nice touches in the story, are undone though. By the poor special effects (Kronos and the Minotaur). Also 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 murders 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 strangely doesn’t.
The Time Monster, can best be described – as a flawed masterpiece. Which tries hard, to create a stylish season-finale. For the most part, it succeeds; bar some horrible-handled and clunky moments; which undermine the potential – of the story.
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