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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Adventure > Time Travel > British TV > Doctor Who: The Twin Dilemma (1984/BBC DVD)

Doctor Who: The Twin Dilemma (1984/BBC DVD)

Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: A     Episodes: B-

Many die-hard fans of the show regard Colin Baker's tenure as Doctor Who as one of its lowest points.
 Indeed, his three seasons were plagued by weak scripts, sketchy special effects, and a strange relationship with his companion, Peri (played by Nicola Bryant).  The Twin Dilemma is the first full Colin Baker episode, picking up right after his regeneration from the 5th Doctor (Peter Davison).  Where Davison's portrayal of the Doctor was amiable and mild, Colin Baker's is grating and excitable.  Blaming it on instability from his recent regeneration, Baker's Doctor spends much of this four episode tale acting strangely, going from manic anger to fits of maudlin that practically immobilize him.

Despite all of its problems, there is still a lot to like about this story (no. 137 in the Doctor's illustrious run).
 Nicola Bryant is simply a pleasure to watch on the screen, and her character shows some backbone in this first foray with Baker's Doctor.  Maurice Denham turns in an excellent performance as Time Lord Azmael/Edgeworth.  An old companion of the Doctor's, he plays a key role in the action as it unfolds across the four episode story.  Of course, the costuming and effects on the story's major villain, Mestor (Edwin Richfield) leaves something to be desired, but he's used judiciously enough that it does not hurt the story too much.

As with all of BBC's Doctor Who offerings, this disc is packed with wonderful extras, and one could argue that the extras are more entertaining than the actual episodes
!  Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, and Kevin McNally (Hugo) provide audio commentaries, giving some additional insights into Baker's maiden voyage as the 6th Doctor.  A short piece entitled "The Star Man" reveals the inside story of the update of the show's title sequence for the 1984 season.  Baker returns for a look at the fashions of Doctors 1 - 6, and manages to poke a bit of fun at his own Doctor's motley attire.  Also included are: a piece on the Doctor Who comic strips, and interview with Bryant and Baker together, some continuity notes, and a photo gallery.  All of these extras enhance and inform on the content of the actual episodes, and should be of great value to new and old fans alike.

The writers seemed to sense that fans might be uneasy with change from Davison to Baker.
They address this unease head-on with Baker's Doctor essentially telling Peri at the end of episode four: "I am the Doctor and you're just going to have to get used to it."  And for the next three seasons he would be, but a lot of fans never really did get used to it, and the show ultimately suffered.  Even though The Twin Dilemma marks Colin Baker's first full outing in the role, and although hardly a perfect one, it might be one of his best.



-   Scott Pyle


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