Doctor Who: Amy’s Choice

This was one of those episodes, where any long established fan of Doctor Who would have had fun trying to guess who the Dream Lord really was. I had my fingers crossed that it might be The Celestial Toymaker from the First Doctor story of the same name. My second choice was that it might have been something to do with a Second Doctor story entitled The Mind Robber, where a dimension outside of reality is controlled by a character known as The Master (of fiction not to be confused with the evil nutter Time Lord). Both stories had a surreal quality with individuals who had the powers and intellect to challenge the Doctor and his companions to their limits. As a child I found The Celestial Toymaker a particularly disturbing story set in a dimension without any understandable or consistent rules. Children need boundaries they say and the Doctor’s advisory was constantly changing theirs within the game and the Toymaker’s created dimension. The story was essentially a series of games played as challenges against the Toymaker’s champions. It didn’t help my peace of mind that these adversaries invariably cheated. Perhaps the highlight was Cyril the Schoolboy who bore an uncanny resemblance to one Billy Bunter.

All this speculation was fun while it lasted because it turned out the Dream Lord was in fact a physical incarnation of the Doctor’s darker side created by some psychic pollen that had found its way into the TARDIS. So technically that would be The Valeyard then? He was first seen The Trial of a Time Lord a Sixth Doctor story. I’m guessing that no one dared speak his name in the script for proprietary reasons, something that has plagued the reappearance of Doctor Who monsters and characters because of the peculiar way the copyright of those things were decided by the BBC in the days of the classic series. In other words they probably needed permission to use that character.

I think Amy’s Choice would have worked really well in the old classic format of several short episodes. As it was there seemed little enough time to create the mystery and tension, do all the flipping back and forth between dreams, and begin to resolve the plot. This was especially true as there was the compulsory running around and screaming while being chased by those creepy OAPs (and they were creepy even before they started regurgitating alien eyes!) For a small village there seemed an awful lot of pensioners. In fact this Earth Dream threat did seem very contrived and I would have liked to have seen something a little more imaginative appear here. But then, I suppose, the argument could be that it was something younger viewers could relate to. Good job then the makers of The Celestial Toymaker and The Mind Robber hadn’t thought about doing that for two of the most innovative and iconic stories of early Doctor Who.

Written by Peter Grehan



4 comments


    Admin

    May 16, 2010

    For those, like me, who may have been intrigued by the part of Wales in which this episode was filmed, the short answer is Skenfrith (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skenfrith), a charming and slightly bizarre village in Monmouthshire.

    Frank Sable

    May 17, 2010

    The attitudes shown towards the old people in this story are interesting. They’re sinister, not like us! They swarm around not doing anything useful and generally getting in the way. And worst of all, they suck all the life out of a community. Old people, they’re a menace!

    J Garner

    May 17, 2010

    Getting better I think.However,I think they could have strung this out over a couple, if not a few episodes,it all seemed a bit rushed to find a beginning a middle and end in the time frame allowed.It reminded me of an episode from Patrick Troughton’s Doctor (one of my favourite Doctors along with scarfy Tom and delicious David) but I can’t remember which one,please help to jog my memory if you can.Glad to see the Doctor doing a bit of internal acting and knowing his character better.In future slow it all down a bit,both the pace of the story and the delivery of the dialogue.Amelia Pond you are a mumbler and Doctor you are a mutterer,if you’ve got something to say I would like to hear it.

    Peter Grehan

    May 17, 2010

    I’m pretty sure you’re thinking of The Mind Robber.

    Take a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vggHVCUGlfg

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