Doctor Who – Delta & The Bannermen (1987/BBC DVD)
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C+ Episodes: B-
story number 150, originally broadcast in November of 1987, Delta and the Bannermen is a 3-parter
from the era of the 7th Doctor Who,
Sylvester McCoy. The story opens with
the Doctor and Mel, exploring the possibility of some time off when they arrive
at an intergalactic toll port and, as the 10,000,000,000th customers, win a
vacation to Disneyland in 1959. The vehicle of transport is a tricked-out,
crystal-powered warp drive omnibus. With
the Doctor following in the Tardis, the bus heads out and promptly hits a
satellite, ending up at a holiday camp in Wales
in 1959, instead of Disneyland. One of the
occupants of the bus is the escaped Chimeron queen, Delta, who is fleeing from
the Bannermen, who in turn have wiped out the population of her home planet and
are attempting to finish the job.
runs a fairly predictable course, adding a nice twist with the hatching of an
egg that Delta has brought with her, thereby birthing a new Chimeron
princess. The landing of the bus at a
typical UK holiday camp gives British viewers a chance to reminisce about their
youthful summers and gives a rare glimpse for American fans into a cultural artifact
(Welcome, Campers!) notoriously memorialized in The Who’s famed rock opera, Tommy.
One of the camp employees, Billy, falls in love with the Chimeron queen
and gets to send up British pop stars of the era, a la Cliff Richard, as he
leads his band through what is no doubt a bit of nostalgia fueled fluff for the
course, the Doctor outwits the Bannermen (brandishing his famous question mark
umbrella for the 1st time), Billy departs with the Chimeron queen, leaving his
motorcycle, Vincent (perhaps named after proto-pop star, Gene Vincent), to his
former flame, Ray (tip of the hat to pop star Johnnie Ray?), and the Doctor and
Mel are anything but rested at the episode conclusion.
fans are not left out of all the fun, however; the in-his-day well known
comedian and actor, Stubby Kaye (Guys
and Dolls, Li’l Abner, and Cat Ballou), makes an appearance as one
of two American operatives investigating an experimental satellite in a nearly
superfluous secondary storyline. Kaye is
amusing as Weismuller; his partner Hawk, played by Morgan Deare, is
unintentionally hilarious as he upholds the long standing tradition of English
actors with horrific American accents.
round, the extras are on the disappointing side: the usual blasé photo gallery,
a But First This behind the scenes
segment (plus outtakes from the interviews), another behind the scenes segment
by BBC Wales (this episode was the only classic episode set in Wales), an
alternative edit of the first of the three episodes with additional scenes,
outtakes of a “Clown Court” segment
from The Noel Edmonds Saturday Road Show
(mildly amusing once), Hugh and Me,
an interview with British character actor Hugh Lloyd (who plays Goronw).
highlight of the extras for Who fans is Stripped
for Action – The Story of Doctor Who Comics (The Seventh Doctor,) which is
a historical overview of the comic strip with the original writers, artists,
and editors. Since this particular
aspect of the Who Universe took place during a period when the TV series had
been cancelled, so the novels and comic strips in the Doctor Who magazine were
actually moving the stories forward without the series itself.
all, this is an average outing for the Doctor – though foreshadowing the recent
10th Doctor’s forage into space aboard an omnibus – and as such should be
moderately pleasing to the average fan.
one more bit from the trivia department: evidently, the episode title is
evidently a send-up of the then current pop/rock band, Echo and the Bunnymen
(whose Killing Moon was a major part
of the hit film Donnie Darko a few
years ago), thereby forever fixing this particular Who adventure firmly in a
most specific time, indeed.
- Don Wentworth