No recollection of having seen this serial, based on title alone. Let’s find out!

Episode 1:

A rocky terrain gives way to ruins (or perhaps a city carved in stone) and then a spaceship on three legs sitting amidst the terrain. A dramatic chord strikes in the background music.

An alien sits in a cockpit, arguing with someone over radio communication. It seems he’s the last chance they have. He’s keeps asking what will happen if all doesn’t go well, but they tell him he is their only hope. The ship lifts off and seemingly explodes.

The Doctor and Romana are in Paris in the year 1979. There’s some horribly insipid dialogue comparing the city to a bouquet. Then we see them traveling about the city on a train. It’s horribly exciting. Or something.

I suppose it’s worth nothing this was the first serial of Doctor Who filmed abroad. There’s not a whole lot worth noting right now, so, why not.

We see a house with some imposing artwork on the doors – medusae. Inside, two men come down a stairs into a workshop/lab. One of the men is played by Julian Glover (known for many roles, look him up – we last saw him as Richard the Lionheart in the William Hartnell serial THE CRUSADES), so that’s a plus. Accompanying him is a man in a white coat (so he must be a scientist), who is frantic about something.

Glover, who is addressed as “Count”, forks over one million francs, which makes the professor’s eyes bug out in greedy glee.

The count’s man (I’m guessing security advisor), Hermann, shows up. They talk about selling “one of the Bibles, the Gutenberg”. Hermann argues the logic of selling such a thing “discreetly”.

In a cafe, The Doctor and Romana sit. A man is sketching Romana, but when The Doctor tells her not to look, she does and the artist throws down his sketch and storms out. When she goes to look at what he was working on, there’s a dramatic chord of music and the scene plays over again.

The second time, the two Time Lords realise something happened. The Doctor says it felt like time jumped a track. When Romana picks up the sketch, her face is done as a fractured clock. The Doctor makes a joke about a crack in time but then seems to realise some greater import to his words. They depart the cafe.

The professor runs some machinery and then powers it down, saying it will take time. The count murmurs about time. He instructs the professor, saying he expects him to make advancements quickly. He tells the professor he wants the next text later that day. The professor is quite distraught.

The Time Lords sit outside, discussing their relationship to time. When Romana criticises the sketch of her, saying the computers on Gallifrey can draw “real pictures”, The Doctor says he’ll take her somewhere to see some real art.

After a bunch of pointless walking and running in the city bits, the Time Lords end up at the Louvre. He takes her to show her the Mona Lisa. While there, another time slip happens. This time, The Doctor collapses from the stress of it. He bumps into a man who has a gun on him. They leave and the man with the gun follows him. A woman and a man in a hat, both who are acting suspiciously exchange knowing glances and nods.

The count praises the professor for his progress. He tells the professor to find a way to “increase the time span”. When the professor complains about wanting some personal time and sleep, the count tells Hermann to bring food.

The man with the gun follows the Time Lords as they go… yes, more walking in Paris. Sigh.

I honestly think if I wasn’t doing a blog watching the entire run in order, I’d skip this serial based on how insipid this first episode is.

The Time Lords sit down and discuss that they’re being followed. The Doctor tells Romana to look in her pocket (“no, the other pocket!” Wow, that’s compelling dialogue.) She pulls out a bracelet, that The Doctor lifted from the woman he bumped into (the same one exchanging knowing looks with the guy in the hat.)

Romana realises it is an advanced device; The Doctor points out that it is not Earth technology.

The man with the gun puts his gun against The Doctor’s back. He orders them into the cafe. He keeps them at gunpoint, though the other patrons in the cafe don’t react to a man with a gun pointed at two people. Sigh.

The woman reports to the count about “this fool of a detective.” She then reports that some “tall man” fainted and fell against her and got the bracelet off her wrist. The count is quite angry and yells at her and she argues. She says the matter of getting the bracelet back is in hand. The count trusts she will be discreet.

At the cafe, the Time Lords and Duggan (the guy with the gun) have two guns pointed at them by the man in the hat and another. The Doctor hands over the bracelet. Again, the people in the cafe don’t seem to mind the guns. The thugs leave.

Duggan accuses The Doctor of employing the thugs to throw him off the trail. The Doctor argues it. It’s really not that interesting. Duggan asks them what Count Scarlioni’s angle is. They deny knowing that, or who the count is. Duggan says everyone on Earth knows who Scarlioni is. They say they’ve just landed. Duggan storms off, saying they’re crazy.

Crazy enough to want to steal the Mona Lisa,” The Doctor quips as Duggan storms off. This stops him and brings him back to the table.

The men return the bracelet to the count. After they leave, the count sends Hermann to kill the two men who retrieved the bracelet. The count tells the woman that he should like to meet The Doctor and Duggan and sends her to deal with it.

Duggan explains that Scarlioni has been releasing many lost art treasures onto the market. The items aren’t fakes, but the count is clean, “so clean he smells,” Duggan tells them. Wow, this dialogue is popping. Or something.

Two other men with guns show up at the cafe, pointing them at the Time Lords and Duggan.

The woman, apparently the countess, frets until Hermann arrives, to her summons. He explains to her that the count is down below, but Professor Kerensky is resting. (Kerensky is played by David Graham, who has been in a handful of Doctor Who serials, all William Hartnell ones – he mostly played Daleks, though he was the bartender, Charlie, in THE GUNSLINGERS.)

The count tends to the machines. The countess knocks on the door, but it is locked. She calls out, “Carlos?” The count faces a mirror and takes off his mask, revealing the one-eyed alien countenance from the beginning of the episode, the Jagaroth, Scaroth.

He turns to face the camera… and the credits roll.

This is painfully bad.

Episode 2:

The Doctor and Romana are brought to the Scarlioni manse, where they meet the countess. The Doctor plays the fool. She demands to know why The Doctor stole her bracelet. He claims to be a thief.

The count comes in. There’s more banter. I’m not at all impressed.

The count has Hermann take the guests to the cells. The count and countess talk about stealing the Mona Lisa.

En route to the cell(s), The Doctor sees Kerensky’s lab and starts poking about. Hermann insists they get in the cell. Once there, Duggan argues that they could have escaped several times, and The Doctor agrees, saying what’s the point of making it there only to escape.

The Doctor uses the sonic screwdriver to unlock the cell door and they slip out. The Doctor and Duggan argue over him looking at the lab.

Duggan keeps pushing to escape, saying he wants to stop the count and countess from stealing the Mona Lisa. The Doctor says they won’t be stealing it at 5pm. Duggan asks why not. The Doctor says it’s still open to the public.

Ugh. This is just idiotic writing.

As Duggan finally heads up the stairs, Kerensky comes down. They hide from the scientist, watching as he places an egg on a small platform. He moves about nervously, frenetically. He activates the machine and the egg hatches and grows. The Doctor approaches him saying, “What you’re doing is very interesting, but you’re doing it wrong.”

There’s a completely pointless scene where Hermann is fiddling with something while the count talks, blowing his own horn. He tells Hermann to fetch Kerensky, so he can show him up, and then changes his mind.

Kerensky and The Doctor argue over the professor’s knowledge of time. As they talk, the chicken grows old and dies. The Doctor reverses the polarity (whoa, is this Tom Baker or Jon Pertwee?) and the chicken becomes an egg. Kerensky is amazed. I am bored.

The Doctor has a vision of Scaroth in the time bubble. Duggan knocks out Kerensky while The Doctor is distracted. Romana interrupts their argument to tell them she found a hidden room.

In the Louvre, seemingly after hours, the count and countess and Hermann and two henchmen proceed to steal the Mona Lisa.

However, it turns out they’re not there, they’re in a 3-D simulation, created by the bracelet. This was their run through on stealing the painting. After he shuts off the simulation he says enough rehearsals, they’re going after it that night.

The Doctor explains about the count’s time experiments while he chips away at the wall to the secret room. When he says he’ll need machinery, Duggan kicks and shoulder smashes his way through A BRICK FUCKING WALL.

Oh my god, this is so FUCKING STUPID. I would totally stop watching this if I wasn’t doing this blog.

Inside the room, they find some cabinets set into a wall. The Doctor opens one and inside is the Mona Lisa. He opens three, four, five more, each holding a copy of the Mona Lisa. Duggan argues that they’re fakes, but The Doctor says they’re legitimate, they’re real, they’re originals.

Duggan says he knows of seven people who would pay for the Mona Lisa. The catches them in the room. There’s more stupid banter, but Duggan punches out the count.

There’s another really awesome and funny bit of dialogue where The Doctor yells at Duggan for always hitting people. And by really awesome and funny, I mean “completely stupid and trite.”

The Doctor sends Romana to accompany Duggan to the Louvre; he says he has to go meet a middle aged Renaissance Italian.

The Doctor breaks into somewhere and takes the TARDIS – HEY WAIT A FUCKING MINUTE, IT’S EQUIPPED WITH A RANDOMISER SO THE BLACK GUARDIAN CAN’T TRACK THEM. I suppose he could have shut it off for this…

The Doctor arrives somewhere, calling out for Leonardo. A man with a sword takes The Doctor prisoner, saying Leonardo is doing private work for Captain Tancredi, but the captain will want to question him. The Doctor says he wants to question the captain.

Just then, a door opens and a man walks in. The count walks out.

You. What are you doing here,” The Doctor demands.

I think that is exactly the question I should be asking you…. Doctor,” the count/Tancredi replies… and the credits roll.

Okay, so I’m remotely interested in finding out what’s going on here… but this is still one of the most poorly written serials ever.

See you Monday. Ugh.