What better way to celebrate Dr Who's 40th Anniversary than by celebrating its greatest ever story?

Terror of the Vervoids by Pip and Jane Baker

There are so many reasons to love Terror of the Vervoids. It operates on multiple levels as is brilliant and awful at the same time. And so, in honour of 40 years of Dr Who and it being the star of season 23, I present 27 reasons to love Terror of the Vervoids.

  1. This story had no script editor. No one was paid to vet the script and get it rewritten when needed. That's what lawyers call "mitigation".

  2. Bruchner's extreme head movement when ordering a guard scares small children.

  3. Janet the Stewardess was extremely sexy in the story and so embarrassed after it that she changed her name from Yolande Palfrey to Yolanda Vazquez.

  4. Edwards has some of the strangest lines in the show's history. These out-of-place gems include "you make delicious coffee Janet" (he deserved to die the moment he said that), "that's true sir" (he patronises his captain - if the murderer hadn't killed him, Tonker would've been next in line behind Janet) and "we don't want you breaking your neck, at least not until..." (at which point he was electrocuted). I'm glad he was killed.

  5. The Commodore's right hand man appears to be a chimpanzee.

  6. What could a small first aid box possibly have to help a man who has just been slapped on the shoulder by an OAP?

  7. Pip and Jane appear to think it's still 1963 and Dr Who is an educational programme. Either that or "Countdown".

  8. Watch out for the Valeyard's moment of random shouting.

  9. Also play the Vervoids drinking game where you take a shot every time someone blatantly stares at Janet's bum. Two shots if they move their entire body to get in a better ogling position.

  10. Professor Laskey thinks of herself as being the new Galileo. She created vegetable slave men with lethal stings. I suppose Galileo might have built a telescope with a spike where the lens should've been, thereby blinding anyone who used it but I somehow doubt it.

  11. People have pointed out that by showing a story from his own future the Doctor proves he must survive the trial. They don't mention that travelling with Mel might have been his sentence after being found guilty.

  12. Right - the Mogarians have hijacked the ship. They say that they will kill the hostages if any attempt is made to storm the bridge. And yet when someone does break into the bridge their reaction is "We did not request refreshment".

  13. And speaking of which, Travers says - without sarcasm - that the ship is designed to by hijack-proof during a hijack.

  14. And while I'm here, how did the person killing the Mogarians get onto the bridge in the first place? If there was a second route, why didn't Travers use it?

  15. Who designed the controls on the tape recorder? Picasso?

  16. The Doctor says Doland's motive is avarice which Doland promptly dismisses. He then goes on to explain that he actually did it because he wants the wealth that the Vervoids can bring. He should use some of it to buy a dictionary and look up the meaning of "avarice".

  17. The Doctor says that a top priority consignment of precious metals is being loaded aboard. They then delay departure for the arrival of a Mogarian who - being Investigator Hallet - wouldn't have been on the passenger list until a few minutes beforehand. And how did Hallet know the Tardis was nearby anyway? And why not just make contact with the Doctor rather than leaving him shoes and seeds as clues? I'm glad he was killed too.

  18. If anyone can tell me who booby trapped the Hydroponics Centre and why then email me.

  19. Isn't it lucky that the vionesium was being shipped in handy grenade shaped balls?

  20. You can't help but love the moment where, having witnessed a discussion about people being mysteriously killed, Mel states as a point of great revelation, "You've got a killer on board".

  21. We've had 50 BF plays, around 200 novels and STILL no one has given us the first encounter between the Doctor and Tonker Travers. I NEED to know what that web of mayhem and intrigue was all about!

  22. Why is the Doctor struggling on the exercise bike and harsh diet? Why didn't he just say "soon enough I'll lose about 80 pounds and a foot in height so leave me alone."

  23. The cabin 6 / cabin 9 joke is so fresh that it's still got soil on it.

  24. I wish this script could be sent back in time to 1964 and be made with the original Tardis crew. I think I would probably marry it.

  25. That aerobics music is so damn funky it makes me want to put on legwarmers, stretch out my aches and pains and then pummel the person who wrote it. But the scene is redeemed with Rudge's beautifully insincere "sorry" when he deliberately tried to deafen Mel.

  26. "You appalling dunderhead" and "you have the temperament of an over-cautious rabbit" are two of the finest insults I've ever heard. I don't get out much.

  27. "A double pulse? What are you, a comedian?" makes no sense. I love it but it is drivel. Adorable drivel but still meaningless pap. Lovely meaningless pap but still shite.

And on that bombshell I shall go and poke my nose into a few nooks and crannies and see if anyone tries to make contact.

 

22nd November 2003