A rare 2 part serial. I know I’ve seen it, but don’t have much recollection of it.


Episode 1:



Two men struggle in a house; we only see them from the waist down. One is snarling, gurgling, growling. The other falls to the ground, presumably dead.


A woman sleeps in a bed, somewhat fitfully. You only see her face briefly, but she looks familiar. The door to her bedroom opens and the snarly man enters.


Then we see the snarly man’s legs, bound in rope, struggling in the bed, as he snarlies. At a table in the bedroom is a man of early indian (Mayan or something, maybe?) origin, reading a book. He’s got one of those cups dangling from his mouth/lip.


The scene changes and a conductor/porter type blows his whistle and a train departs the station. The man takes his dolly inside and the TARDIS appears on the platform.


Inside, Tegan asks where they’ve landed. When Adric says Earth, she starts to complain (shocker) that she’s already told The Doctor she wants to stay with them for a while, that he can stop trying to get her back to Heathrow. He says that he has.


She complains (shocker) that he doesn’t know how to pilot it. The Doctor asks the TARDIS why the compulsion to go to Earth. He checks the date – 3pm, June 11, 1925.


Tegan makes a big deal about not being born yet; considering they just came from the 17th century, I’m not sure why this is remotely a big deal to her.


They exit, Adric asking what a railway station is. When The Doctor answers, Nyssa proclaims this a “very silly activity”. They wander about an a chauffeur, who seems to be expecting them – he works for Lord Cranleigh and is there to pick up “the doctor”.


The chauffeur stares rudely at Nyssa until she asks what he’s staring at and he apologises, but doesn’t answer. (Let me guess, there’s someone there she looks like.)


The chauffeur explains that the game has already started – “his lordship won the toss and decided to bat first”. Sounds like cricket, what what? Fascinated, The Doctor urges his companions into the car.


Cricket is being played at an estate. We see the car approaching and it comes to a stop. The Doctor and companions disembark. Lord Cranleigh runs over to greet them, and when he sees Nyssa, he, too, reacts by staring. He reveals she looks exactly like his fiancee and says she must meet her.


The Doctor makes introductions. Cranleigh says it is no big deal when The Doctor says he doesn’t have his gear with him. He makes some comments on the score (54 for 8) and some arcane mumbo jumbo about a duck and some other stuff.


As they walk to the game, Cranleigh brings up Smutty, who apparently is a shared acquaintance between Cranleigh and the man who everyone thinks The Doctor is.


This is going to be like the Eleventh Doctor playing rugby, innit?


The Doctor suits up and takes his place to bat. There’s a montage of him batting a lot of balls.


Cranleigh introduces The Doctor’s companions to his parents. His mom thinks Tegan and Adric have “extraordinary names”. When he shows them Nyssa, they both stand and are amazed.


The Doctor is now pitching… bowling? I’m not sure, but Tegan compliments him saying, “well bowled!”


We get another montage of The Doctor bowling/pitching and he’s just awesome at it, apparently. When all is done, Cranleigh praises him, “Ripping performance! Come to the house and meet the mater!”


In the house, the indian dude with the wooden lip extenstion/cup/bowl/thing closes some cabinet doors. There’s dramatic music.


Cranleigh introduces The Doctor to his parents. “Doctor…who,” the mother asks. That never gets old. Cranleigh explains that The Doctor would like to remain incognito, and after saving the game for them (I’m confused, because it sounded as if they were opponents from what the chauffeur said, but it was obvious through the montages that The Doctor was on the same team as Cranleigh), his lordship thinks they should oblige. Mother agrees.


Okay, maybe the guy isn’t Cranleigh’s dad. He’s introduced as Robert Muir. There’s a bit of worry when Muir says The Doctor’s performance was worthy that of “the other doctor”, “the master”, but it turns out he’s refering to someone named “WG Grace”. (A quick google search reveals that said person is one of the most influential/important cricketers of note.)


Cranleigh and his mother insist they stay for the costume ball. It’s a charity event they do every year. Cranleigh says they have costumes for last minute guests.


The snarling man struggles in the bed.


Ann Talbot, Cranleigh’s fiancee arrives and she and Nyssa meet. Everyone is shocked at the resemblance.


Cranleigh has his man Brewster take drink orders. Tegan notices a black flower in a case and inspects it.


The snarly man sits up and swings his legs off the bed. We still have not seen him more than waist down. He seems have suddenly gotten rid of the ropes.


Cranleigh’s mum tells Tegan the black orchid was “found on the Orinoco by my eldest son, George.” Tegan recognises the name George Cranleigh – he’s a famout botanist and explorer, apprently.


Ann was supposed to marry George, but after he didn’t return from his last expedition two years ago (yeah…), she decided to get engaged to the younger Cranleigh instead.


There’s a bit more banter and such, then Lady Cranleigh announces it is time to change. Cranleigh takes Adric and The Doctor to their rooms so they can bathe and change into their costumes.


The indian dude unlocks a door and enters; seeing the bed empty, he stops, but is struck on the back of the head. The snarly man exits the room, snarling.


The Doctor has a gaudy costume. Cranleigh compliments him on the choice and departs to see to Adric. The Doctor begins changing and puts on a harlequin mask.


Tegan, in a dress, tries to show Nyssa the Charleston. Nyssa mocks the dance, saying dancing is much more formalised on Traken. Ann enters, accompanied by a servant girl. She says she has “an absolutely ripping idea”. I guess “ripping” was the 1920s version of “bad” in the 80s?


Ann has matching costumes for her and Nyssa and thinks it would be a “topping” idea for them to be identical. We learn that Ann has a mole on her shoulder, and Nyssa confides that she does not have one.


The Doctor lays out his costume on the bed and then goes to take his bath. A secret door opens and the snarly man enters, not snarly for once. Hearing The Doctor singing as he runs his water, he exits through the proper door in a hurry.


The Doctor, hearing the door shut, comes out to see who was there. He sees the secret door, left open, and enters. The Door shuts behind him and he can’t get it to open. With no other choice, he’s forced to follow the passage.


The snarly man returns and takes The Doctor’s costume.


The party has begun. It’s an outdoors affair. Nyssa tells Adric that he has to ask her to dance. When he asks why, she says that’s what everyone else is doing. He argues that he couldn’t dance, but she drags him along saying she’ll lead.


Muir, dancing with Tegan, says he hopes Cranleigh is dancing with the right girl. He seems to find the look-a-likes dressing exactly the same to be “very naughty”, while Tegan finds it “a great hoot”. Muir doesn’t get “hoot”.


The Doctor explores the passage. He complains, “Why do I always let my curiosity get the better of me?”


Nyssa and Ann pull a switching act. One dances with Adric, the other with Cranleigh, though it seems to be Nyssa and Ann, respectively.


The indian dude shows up at the party; Lady Cranleigh excuses herself from her dancing partner and goes to speak to him. His name is Latoni. He tells her “my friend has escaped”, when she scolds him for being there. This shocks her. She asks where Digby is, but Latoni says Digby is gone, he has not seen him all day.


Upset, Lady Cranleigh tells him to follow and they head inside.


The Doctor still moves through the passage. He finds the other end and searches for the trip. He doesn’t find it, but dejectedly leans against the wall, triggering it. (So why didn’t he try to find the trip at the door to his room?)


He finds himself in a hallway. He opens the first door, finding a closet full of books on botany. The next door has clothing. Tegan and Robert are all flirty and such. They sit down, but then the band starts playing the Charleston and she gets up to dance.


Adric eats. One of the identicals dances with a musketeer. Adric guesses that the one with him must be Nyssa, saying she can’t dance like that. She proves him wrong.


The harlequin descends the stairs and approaches the dancers. He sees Adric and one of the identicals talking and approaches them, silently asking her for a dance.


The Doctor finds another secret door and enters. He goes up some stairs, coming to the room where the snarly man was kept. Entering, he calls out, but there’s nobody there. He finds a book written in Portuguese.


The harlequin and the identical dance off, into the house. Adric watches, slightly concerned.


Returning to the hallway, The Doctor keeps opening doors, finding a body stuffed into one of the closets – the man who was choked earlier! (Bet his name is Digby.)


The harlequin dances the identical into the house. She says it was great fun, but they should return to the terrace. He snarls and wheezes in response. She asks who he is, and when he doesn’t respond, she tries to leave. He grabs her wrist and she begins to call out for help.


A servant arrives and the harlequin chokes him out. The identical faints, so it is obviously Ann.


The harlequin looms over her, snarling… and the credits roll.


Not a terribly good cliffhanger.


Episode 2:


The Doctor checks the body in the closet. He walks away, stepping back into the door that led to the stairs that led to Snarly Man’s room. The secret door slams shut behind him (not sure why), startling Latoni and Lady Cranleigh. She introduces Dittar Latoni as “an old friend from Brazil”.


The Doctor tells them about the dead man in the cupboard. Lady Cranleigh says she’s made of stern stuff and can handle seeing it. She asks if he would mind keeping it from the others guests – unless the police decide otherwise, she sees no point in alarming them. Reluctantly, The Doctor agrees.


Lady Cranleigh leads The Doctor back to his room.


Snarly Man places the costume back on The Doctor’s bed and slips off.


Sir Robert flirts with Tegan.


Ann Talbot is in her bed, tossing and turning, pushing the comforter off. Snarly Man approaches. We finally see Snarly Man’s upper body. I can see why they hid it so long – he’s wearing a godawful sweater. (Unrelated, his face is horribly disfigured. Have you figured out who he is yet? It’s really not that hard.)


The Doctor puts on his costume.


Latoni and Lady Cranleigh try to open a door, but it’s locked.


Ann wakes and seems to remember what happened. She doesn’t notice Snarly Man (he’s being quiet), who is seated near the bed, on the floor, opposite the side she gets out of bed as she runs to the door and, screaming to let her out. She opens the door and runs out, encountering Lady C and Latoni.


(Lady C and Latoni sounds like a band name.)


Lady C tries to comfort Ann as Latoni slips back in the room (the room in the secret area.) The indian fetches some rope as Snarly Man cowers in the corner, quite fearful.


Adric eats more.


Cranleigh dances with Nyssa and then offers her something to eat. They go to the table and she chides Adric for eating a second plate. He realises who she must be.


A servant whispers to Cranleigh and Muir and they slip away, hurriedly.


Tegan joins the other companions and gives Adric a hard time for being a growing boy.


Cranleigh inspects the body of the servant that tried to rescue Ann from the harlequin, saying the neck is broken. They find Ann’s mask. Sir Robert goes off to call the police.


The Doctor comes down in his harlequin costume. He asks if there was an accident. Ann and Lady C come down and Ann accuses him of attacking her and killing the servant. The Doctor appeals to Lady C, but she refuses to help him out.


Okay, if I’m a Time Lord in this situation, people start dying. Seriously, bitch?


It turns out that Sir Robert is the local head constable. He asks who The Doctor really is. The Time Lord tries to explain, but it doesn’t go over well. When he brings up the other dead boy, Lady C lies. Flat out lies, accusing The Doctor of having a vivid imagination.


Oh, that’s it. Bitch gonna die.


When Sir Robert asks, The Doctor agrees to show him the secret passage(s) and the body.


Cranleigh tells the companions about The Doctor’s heinous crime. They defend him, but Cranleigh believes his finacee, of course.


The body has been removed; a porcelain doll is in its place. Lady C is being a total bitch. She’d die, yo. I’d be a total gangsta Time Lord, wouldn’t put up with this snooty bitch and her prevaricating.


The Doctor tries to get Lady C to explain, but she remains silent. The more the Time Lord tries to explain, the crazier he sounds. You can’t blame Sir Robert for not believing him, really.


We see Snarly back in bed, looking fearful. Latoni sits and reads his book (the one written in Portuguese.)


Cranleigh gets on the phone; apparently, Smutty is on the other end. Cranleigh learns that Smutty’s friend never made it. He tells Sir Robert and his mum that The Doctor is not Smutty’s friend. Lady C jumps at the chance to throw the word “impostor” (though, to be fair, he is one.)


Tegan jumps up, acting all tough. Sir Robert orders the sergeant to take The Doctor and his “accessories” to the station, under arrest.


Snarly struggles with his bonds.


En route to the police station, The Doctor tells the sergeant there’s vital evidence that will prove what he is saying is true. They get to the platform, but the TARDIS is nowhere in sight. Sir Robert says he’s wasting time.


Snarly has freed his hands and works on his legs; Latoni is the worst guard ever, he’s too engrossed in his book.


When they arrive at the police station, one of the coppers there tells them about the police box they found at the railway station. The copper says “No key will unlock it.”


The Doctor holds up his key, “This one will.”


Latoni sits, reading his book, oblivious to the fact that Snarly is about to pounce.


Lady C tells her son that Digby, “the male nurse”, was killed. Cranleigh is upset that his mother didn’t say anything – he’s quite worried that The Doctor will suffer, but Lady C is sure he will come to no harm, as he is innocent. (Yeah, right.) Cranleigh insists on telling the police, but mama says no.


Ann rushes in, being all whiny and needy. Charles (the younger Cranleigh) tells Ann there’s something she should know. Mama protests.


The Doctor unlocks the TARDIS and asks Sir Robert and the sergeant to go in first. When the sergeant says there won’t be enough room, Tegan smirks and says, “You are in for a surprise!”


The Doctor and his companions follow.


Snarly attacks Latoni, stomping on him and choking him. At the same time. Do you have any idea how unrealistic of an attack mode that is? As he’s being choked, Latoni slips the key in between the floorboards.


Sir Robert and the sergeant are quite impressed with the TARDIS.


Unable to find the key, Snarly puts some papers at the door and starts a fire.


Sir Robert apologises to The Doctor, but says there’s still a murder to explain. Cummings, the copper, comes in, and after he’s properly startled, he tells Sir Robert that Lord Cranleigh called to say that another body, that of Digby, was found.


The Doctor says, “the man in the cupboard?” Sir Robert is properly embarrassed. When he goes to leave, The Doctor says he can get him there faster.


Ann is astounded, crying out, “How could you,” at Lady and Lord C. So, Charles told her, then called the station, and she waited until he got off the phone to have a meltdown? Really?


The TARDIS appears in the lawn of the Cranleigh estate. Ann rushes out into the arms of Sir Robert.


The door is ablaze. Snarly uses a fire poker to beat it down, kicking down parts of it. He goes downstairs and finds his brother and mummy. It’s a tearful reunion with hugs and kisses and song and dance.


No, wait, I’m lying. Snarly snarls (oh, I guess I spoiled it in that paragraph) and runs off, but is cut off by everyone coming inside from the TARDIS. He shoulder tackles The Doctor and grabs Nyssa and drags her up the stairs. It’s getting smoky up there.


Charles sends for the brigade and he, The Doctor and Adric rush up, but come back down, because the stairs are on fire. Sir Robert asks what “that thing” was and Lady C is all indignant, because that thing is her eldest son, George.


DUM DUM DUM!!!! Oh, wait, I already spoiled it.


The Doctor says he has to go rescue Nyssa before George discovers he has the wrong girl. Everyone runs outside and looks up at the roof.


George carries Nyssa onto the roof. The Doctor tells them to hold his attention and he goes inside. Charles starts climbing the outside wall/windows.


The Doctor rushes through the burning stairs. Okay, so why not do that earlier, when the fire hadn’t spread as much yet? I mean, really. This is stupid.


When Sir Robert (oh, wait, Robert, Bob, bobby – I get it, he’s the chief constable and he’s a bobby! Ahahahahahah!) asks why the black orchid was a clue, Lady C explains that the Kojabe indians disfigured George. It seems the black orchid is sacred to the Kojabe and since George deflowered it (sorry, couldn’t resist), they tortured him and cut out his tongue. This affected his mind.


Another tribe rescued George and the chief, Latoni, befriended George and brought him home. (Sure, the chief would just abandon his people like that. Okay. Another stupid plot point. Why not make Latoni the chief’s son?) She reveals that George killed Digby and the servant.


Charles makes it to the roof and appeals to George. The Doctor arrives on the other side, slowly approaching, but George sees him. George hits Charles. The Doctor tells George that Nyssa isn’t Ann, pointing out Ann down below.


This is gripping drama, yo.


George sees Ann and throws Nyssa to the ground and she dies.


No? Okay, he snarls and drools but gives Nyssa back to The Doctor. When Charles tries to hug his brother, George recoils and falls to his death. Yes, what a nice, neat ending to the story.


The next scene, we see Lady C, Ann and Charles in black, with The Doctor and his companions (none of them in black.) Lady C is grateful that they stayed for the funeral. (Guess several days have gone by at this point, then.)


Tegan has a box with her and Nyssa’s fancy dress in it. Lady C gives The Doctor a book. He thanks her, saying he shall treasure it and then beats her over the head with it.


No? Okay, but he does say that. When he opens it, we see a pic of George and the title page: BLACK ORCHID by George Cranleigh… and the final credits roll.


What a really poor serial. Sloppy, choppy writing. Could have been really good – suffered from being only two episodes, I feel. Too much was rushed and they tried to jam too much in. A lot of cliches (what, a masked ball where one of the heroes is mistaken for someone who commits a crime? NEVER HEARD OF THAT BEFORE) that just came across as forced cliches because of limited time.


Glad that’s over.


Oh, shit… next week, we do EARTHSHOCK. It’s a really, really good serial. I’m going to cry, though.