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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Adventure > Time Travel > British TV > Doctor Who – The Horns Of Nimon (BBC DVD)

Doctor Who – The Horns Of Nimon (BBC DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Episodes: B+



The Horns of Nimon is classic, golden age Doctor Who, an exciting adventure, with a patented blend of drama and humor, the whole overseen by script consultant Douglas Adams.  Perhaps I’m reading more into it than is there, but the Adams stamp seems to be firmly, if subtly, apparent.  Though production values appear relatively low (there certainly have been worse), the show manages to maintain believability with some steady pacing and solid turns by both Romana and the Doctor.


The story appears to be another attempt of the script writers (this time Anthony Read) to tie into ancient myth, this time that of the Minotaur and the labyrinth, akin to what was done in the Underworld episode (reviewed here recently) with a less successful result.  This time out, the Tardis is having all manner of mechanical problems and crashes into a space ship on the way to Skonnos, with a cargo of Aneths (read “Athenians,” who were sacrificed to the Minotaur) to be sacrificed to the “god” Nimon (i.e. mino-taur).  The inhabitants of Skonnos believe that once these sacrifices are completed, the Nimon will return the planet to its form glory.  Unfortunately, in reality these sacrifices are a precursor to all out invasion, the Nimons moving through space like a plague of locusts exfoliating entire planets.  The Nimon themselves resemble a sort of alien Minotaurs, living in a maze (actually, as seen from above, a huge working electronic circuit) of ever shifting walls, awaiting the sacrifices which are provided by the Skonnos people.  Using fuel cells they exact as tribute from the Aneths, the Nimon create a tunnel utilizing a black hole in order to move from planet to planet.


There is some Grand Guignol acting in the form of Soldeed (Graham Crowden), the  Skonnans’ leader, and the ritual side-to-side weaving dance of the Nimon is a sight to behold.  The humor in the episode is not to everyone’s taste, but it is obvious that Baker and Ward are having a great time and the guest actors give it their all, by and large, pull it off (“Weakling scum” being a humorous, recurring epithet).  The various noises of the ailing Tardis are hysterical, in a slapstick sort of way; if Star Trek can have its Tribbles, why shouldn’t the Who audience lighten up a bit and have a couple of belly laughs?  Romana takes the lead in many an instance and at one point reveals that she has built her own sonic screwdriver.  The Doctor manages to pull it all together and destroy the Power Complex, effectively trapping the Nimons on the previous planet, Crinoth (read Corinth) which they were trying to migrate from having already denuded of life.  For a low budget effect, the destruction of the complex is impressive in a Doctor Who kind-of-way.


There are two extras of note: Who/Peter, Partners in Time, which chronicles all the appearances and promotions of Doctor Who through the years on the BBC’s popular children’s show, Blue Peter, and Read the Writer, an interview with Anthony Read, former script consultant and writer of The Horns of Nimon.  A hidden bonus bit is the Scottish Falsetto Puppet Theatre, in which two Scottish puppets attempt to come up with a mnemonic to remember the names of all the actors who have played Doctor.  The puppets settle on singing the names to the tune of “Frère Jacques” with amusing results.



-   Don Wentworth


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