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The Dark Places of the Inside
We now come to the third story of Season 19 in ‘Doctor Who’ called ‘Kinda’. The first time I watched ‘Kinda’ was when I had the ‘Doctor Who’ DVD box set called ‘Mara Tales’ for my birthday in May 2011. At that time, it was the final ‘Doctor Who’ DVD box set release to feature Nyssa in it for me. 😀
‘Mara Tales’ was a DVD box set that contained two TV stories from the Peter Davison era of ‘Doctor Who’. They were ‘Kinda’ and ‘Snakedance’ and they featured the evil snake-like creature called the Mara. The two tales focused on Janet Fielding as Tegan as she gets easily possessed by the evil Mara.
When I saw Sarah Sutton at the ‘Regenerations 2010’ convention in Swansea, September 2010, I told her I was looking forward to getting the ‘Mara Tales’ DVD box set. Sarah acknowledged that it was the new DVD box set at the time. How ironic that it’s been re-released on the Season 19 Blu-ray box set.
After I saw the ‘Mara Tales’ DVD box set for my birthday in May 2011; I found ‘Snakedance’ to be a better ‘Doctor Who’ story than ‘Kinda’. The two Mara stories are by Christopher Bailey, who was a Buddhist enthusiast at the time and he put his extraordinary writing talents into ‘Doctor Who’ itself.
I later had the DVD cover of ‘Kinda’ signed by Peter Davison at the ‘Regenerations 2016’ convention in Swansea, September 2016 and by the lovely Sarah Sutton at the ‘Fantom Events at Memorabilia 2016’ convention at the NEC Birmingham, March 2016. I told Sarah I liked her as Nyssa in both ‘Mara Tales’.
I know that Sarah as Nyssa wasn’t in ‘Kinda’ very much and I was looking forward to ‘Snakedance’ more. But the scenes with Nyssa in ‘Kinda’ are my favourites and I told Sarah I meant that sincerely when I saw her at ‘Fantom Events at Memorabilia 2016’. Sarah was pleased and thanked me for saying that.
With that said, the ‘Mara Tales’ are peculiar bunch of ‘Doctor Who’ stories from the Peter Davison era. And that’s not just the two TV stories. There’s also the Big Finish audio, ‘The Cradle of the Snake’ afterwards. What is it about these Mara stories that makes them unique and unusual in storytelling?
Are you ready to face your nightmares and the dark places of the inside here? Let’s take a look as we begin this excursion with the Mara in the first story, ‘Kinda’, set during Peter Davison’s first season as the Fifth Doctor. It’s a very mind-boggling story and I’m not sure that I fully understand it altogether.
Like I said, Sarah Sutton as Nyssa doesn’t appear in ‘Kinda’ much. The reason why Nyssa fainted at the end of ‘Four to Doomsday’ is given in the superb Big Finish audio called ‘Primeval’. I know not many people have heard that story, but I’ve heard it and the explanation’s there and needs to be checked out!
Nyssa gets stuck inside the TARDIS for most of the time in ‘Kinda’ as the Doctor gives her 48 hours of induced D-sleep with the delta-wave augmenter. I wish Nyssa was in this four-part story more as I missed her from seeing this. I’ll get into more how I feel regarding Nyssa not being in ‘Kinda’ later on.
As I indicated, I found ‘Kinda’ an unusual and strange four-part story by Christopher Bailey. It’s not terrible by any means, but it was unnerving and surreal. There are elements of the 2009 film, ‘Avatar’ directed by James Cameron, in ‘Kinda’. I saw that film beforehand and was blown away by it.
‘Kinda’ was a story that went through various changes in terms of script-editing. Chris Bailey had contact with three script-editors including Christopher H. Bidmead; Anthony Root and Eric Saward. Chris Bidmead and Anthony Root were more enthusiastic about the script than Eric Saward seemed to.
Granted there are some amazing ideas that Chris Bidmead and Anthony Root found impressive. But Eric Saward was concerned about the logic and the structure of the storytelling which Chris Bailey had to keep on addressing when it came to improving the scripts which must have been hard-going.
I don’t think ‘Kinda’ does make a lot of sense in terms of the storytelling and you have to use your imagination in terms of understanding the overall plot of the tale. But the vision for ‘Kinda’ is pretty bold and fair dos to the director Peter Grimwade who achieves a linear structure in telling the story.
Anyway, the TARDIS arrives on the jungle planet Deva Loka, which is home to the primitive but peaceful Kinda. Without Nyssa joining them, the Doctor, Tegan and Adric explore the Deva Loka jungles and discover a survey dome on the planet. This dome is under the command of Mr. Sanders.
By accident, Tegan falls asleep at a clearing lined with crystalline wind chimes in the jungle. From there, she has terrible dark dreams and soon gets infected and possessed by the Mara. The Mara causes havoc whilhst inside Tegan’s mind as well as another called Aris. Can this Mara be defeated?!
I found Peter Davison’s Doctor to be pretty good in this adventure. I know Chris Bailey originally wrote for this ‘Doctor Who’ story for Tom Baker’s Doctor. Some say that the script doesn’t suit Peter Davison’s Doctor, but I believe Peter came out top trumps despite saying lines meant for Tom Baker!
What I found impressive about Peter’s Doctor is how very intrigued he is by what’s going on in the story. He shares an interesting relationship with Todd, the scientist at the survey dome and seems to know of the legends of the Mara when he recognises its tattoo mark on Aris’ arm and tries to stop it.
I enjoyed Janet Fielding as Tegan in this story. Unfortunately Tegan falls asleep and has harrowing dreams when she faces incarnations of the Mara. These include Jeff Stewart as Dukkha who taunts her and Anna Wing as Anatta (representing Nyssa) and Roger Milner as Annica (representing Adric).
Very soon, Tegan allows the Mara to take possession of her and she doesn’t end up as the character we know and love. I found Janet Fielding gave a pretty seductive, sexy and evil performance as the Mara-possessed Tegan. Mind you, that possession does not last long when the Mara possesses Aris.
Matthew Waterhouse is good as Adric and gets a fair share of the action in this adventure. I enjoyed how Adric interacts with Hindle who goes mad in the story. He also shares an interesting bond with Sanders who warms to Adric when he’s looked inside the Box of Jhana and seems rather child-like.
I’m not sure how much of the story is true about Matthew Waterhouse giving Richard Todd helpful guidance on how to act during the making of this story, but it sounds pretty amusing. Adric has a go of using the Total Survival Suit (TSS) when going outside, but he finds out that it is difficult to control.
Richard Todd guest stars as Sanders, the commander of the survey dome in the story. Richard Todd is a renowned film actor appearing in movies like ‘The Dam Busters’ from 1955. I enjoyed his performance in this TV tale, as he starts off being this gruff military person who wears a pith helmet.
Eventually, when he looks into the Box of Jhana given to him by Karuna, he becomes completely different. He’s friendlier and has a child-like innocence about him. He soon starts to follow orders from the gone-mad Hindle. It was amusing when Sanders acted rather happy-faced in the adventure.
Simon Rouse guest stars as Hindle, who becomes mentally unstable in the story. He’s one of the survey dome team under Sanders’ command. He completely loses it when he’s given command in Sanders’ absence. Simon Rouse does very well in giving an extraordinary performance of a mad man.
Afterwards, Simon Rouse would go on to appear in ‘The Bill’ as well as appear in the Big Finish audio adventure, ‘The Witch From The Well’, with Paul McGann’s Doctor. One of my favourite moments with Hindle is when one of his cardboard figures gets torn up and he says this amazing immortal line.
“YOU CAN’T MEND PEOPLE, CAN YOU?! YOU CAN’T MEND PEOPLE!”
Nerys Hughes guest stars as Todd, the scientist at the survey dome whom the Doctor becomes friends with. Nery Hughes is well-known for her appearances in the comedy series, ‘The Liver Birds’. She was also Rhys Williams’ mum, Brenda, in the ‘Torchwood’ episode called ‘Something Borrowed’.
I enjoyed Todd’s reactions to the things she doesn’t understand, especially when she’s with the Doctor who’s often flippant regarding explanations such as how Panna can be in Karuna. I also enjoyed that moment where the Doctor tosses for it and he calls “Heads!” whereas she calls “Tails!”
There’s also Mary Morris as Panna, the wise woman who seems to know everything about what’s going on with the Kinda and the Mara. She is also a blind old woman with a walking stick that Karuna to guide her. I found it amusing when Panna kept calling the Doctor an idiot when he was with them.
There’s Sarah Prince as Karuna, the young girl who assists Panna in their methods to defeat the evil that is ‘among we’ or among the Kinda tribe. She can easily read the minds of the Kinda who don’t use voice to communicate. Karuna very soon had the mind of Panna inside when Panna herself dies.
And there’s Adrian Mills as Aris, the Kinda male who gets possessed by the Mara. I’ve met Adrian Mills in real-life at the ‘celebrate 50 – The Peter Davison Years’ event in Chiswick, London, April 2013. He’s a nice chap and I’ve had a photo of Adrian Mills as Aris signed by him at that convention.
In the story, the Mara soon becomes a giant snake when trapped inside a circle of mirrors by the Doctor to defeat it. The original Mara snake was a puppet and…yeah, it looks fake and pathetic. I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw that puppet snake for the first time and it should’ve been a lot better.
Thankfully, the makers of the ‘Kinda’ DVD recreated the Mara snake with a brand-new CGI version of it. The CGI Mara snakes looks pretty impressive and terrifying. I’m glad they kept that CGI version of the Mara snake when transferring the ‘Kinda’ story onto Blu-ray for the complete Season 19 box set.
At the end of the story, Nyssa is better and fully recovered. I’m glad Nyssa’s better by the end of the story, but because of her absence I didn’t enjoy ‘Kinda’ as much as I enjoyed ‘Snakedance’. I think Nyssa could’ve had a big part to play in the story in order for it to be very entertaining throughout.
If Nyssa was in ‘Kinda’ more, she could’ve helped Tegan through her Mara experience with her own latent telepathic abilities as established later in ‘Time-Flight’. Nyssa would’ve been there at Tegan’s side to help her best friend to get out of the traumatic experience she went through with the Mara.
Nyssa could’ve also worked well in the scenes with Adric inside the survey dome with witnessing Hindle’s madness and paranoia as well as seeing Sanders’ strange behaviour. Nyssa could’ve tried to calm Hindle down, despite being afraid of him, and could’ve got through Sander in his mental block.
Those are my thoughts on how Nyssa could’ve been made of more use in ‘Kinda’ rather than just get locked up for most of the story in the TARDIS. I know that this was a Tegan-central story, but with that said Tegan spent a lot of the time sleeping in ‘Part Three’ and did not wake up until ‘Part Four’.
The original DVD special features were as follows. There was the making-of documentary, ‘Dream Time’, with cast and crew interviews; the ‘Peter Grimwade – Directing With Attitude’ documentary; deleted and extended scenes from the story; the CGI effects option for the story and the CGI effects comparison of the Mara snake. There were BBC trailers and continuity announcements of the story; a photo gallery of the story; a mono sound audio mix option for the story and a DVD audio commentary with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Matthew Waterhouse and Nerys Hughes. There was an isolated music option by Peter Howell to enjoy; an info-text commentary option to enjoy and PDF materials including a ‘Radio Times Listings’ of the story. There was also a ‘coming soon’ DVD trailer for the ‘Revisitations 2’ DVD box set including ‘The Seeds of Death’ with Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury; ‘Carnival of Monsters’ with Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning and ‘Resurrection of the Daleks’ with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson.
On Disc 3 of the ‘Doctor Who – The Collection – Season 19’ Blu-ray, the ‘Dream Time’ making-of documentary; the ‘Peter Grimwade – Directing With Attitude’ documentary; the deleted and extended scenes; the CGI effects option for the story; the CGI effects comparison; the mono sound audio mix option for the story; the DVD audio commentary; the isolated music option; and the ‘Radio Times Listings’ PDF can be found on there. The the info-text commentary option; the BBC trailers and continuity announcements and the photo gallery for ‘Kinda’ have been updated for 2018 on the Blu-ray.
The new special features on Blu-ray include the ‘Behind the Sofa’ feature on ‘Kinda’ with Peter Davison (the Fifth Doctor); Sarah Sutton (Nyssa); Janet Fielding (Tegan) and Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) as well as Mark Strickson (Turlough) and Sophie Aldred (Ace). There’s also the ‘coming soon’ DVD trailer for ‘The Visitation’ with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton and Matthew Waterhouse. There’s also a brand-new 5.1 surround sound audio mix option for the story to enjoy.
On the PDF front, as well as the ‘Radio Times Listings’ of the story, there are also production documents and scripts for the story. You need a special Blu-ray computer drive for that.
‘Kinda’ is an extraordinary and a very unusual ‘Doctor Who’ story. But it is ‘kinda’ interesting. See what I did there? 😀 I don’t fully understand what goes on in the story, as some of the logic and structure is confusing. But the themes of dreams and possession are strong throughout in this story.
I know how much I’ve said I wish Nyssa was in ‘Kinda’ more as I felt her absence throughout. But I’m glad she was back at the end and was looking forward to finding out where she and the others would go next. I knew where they were going next of course, but I was excited to revisit it in the Blu-ray box set of Season 19.
‘Kinda’ rating – 7/10
‘DOCTOR WHO – KINDA’
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The Mara and the Kinda
I enjoyed reading ‘Doctor Who – Kinda’ as a book!
This is a Target novelization of the original TV story ‘Kinda’ by Christopher Bailey. But it’s not Chris Bailey who has written the novelization. It’s by Terrance Dicks who provides novelization duties on this remarkable surreal story. Terrance has done a remarkable job tackling such an unusual story as this.
After seeing ‘Kinda’ in the ‘Mara Tales’ DVD box set for my birthday in May 2011, I was keen to discover more about this remarkable story. I didn’t understand much of it and it’s not a favourite of mine. But reading the book by Terrance Dicks has enabled me to get a clearer depiction of the story.
The book was published in 1983; a year after the TV story was shown in 1982. The story is divided into 12 chapters with 3 chapters making one of the four episodes – 3 chapters; times 4 equals 12 chapters. This is a popular approach to novelize a four-part ‘Doctor Who’ TV story by Terrance Dicks.
I wondered how Terrance Dicks would novelize this story from Christopher Bailey’s original TV scripts. Terrance hasn’t really changed much of the original plot. Despite minor changes to some of the dialogue, he’s managed to novelize the story by matching exactly as it appeared on the TV screen.
I’m not sure how much Terrance understood ‘Kinda’ from the original TV scripts (probably not much as the case maybe). But Terrance has done a wonderful job in describing the surreal imagery featured in the story, especially with the dream sequences that I found baffling when I saw them.
Also, what Terrance doesn’t do with changing dialogue, he makes up for it with describing the scenes full of incredible detail throughout. I’m amazed by how Terrance is able to delve into the world of Deva Loka and describe many of the places and environments such as the survey dome and the jungles.
Terrance also homes in on the characters that are featured in the story with likes of Sanders and Hindle. He delves into Hindle’s madness with gripping detail. He also transcends Sander’s character beautifully from a gruff, belligerent army officer to the gentle, child-like man he becomes at the end.
One thing I’ve noticed is about Nyssa’s absence from the story is that it’s never explained why Nyssa had to stay in the TARDIS. No reference gets made to the previous story, since Nyssa didn’t faint at the end of the novelization for ‘Four to Doomsday’ by Terrance Dicks to help explain the reason for her absence.
Another thing that disappointed me was that there were deleted scenes featured on the ‘Kinda’ DVD from the ‘Mara Tales’ box set that weren’t featured in the novelization. I found this rather odd as I thought they were in the original script and I wondered why Terrance didn’t include them in the book.
The depiction of the Mara in the book is just as frightening as to how it was depicted in the TV story. The Mara’s delight in the pain and the suffering of others shines throughout. Terrance has clearly stressed on this story’s aspect by delving into more of the snake-like force wanting to cause havoc.
Tegan’s dream sequences are pretty effective in the book. Reading those scenes made me feel for Tegan, who was tormented with resisting the Mara’s temptations. I wondered why there wasn’t a reference made to Adric as the old man and Nyssa as the old woman who played chess in Tegan’s dreams.
I was slightly disappointed by how the Box of Jhana was depicted. It’s not clearly illustrated that the Doctor, Todd and Sanders are overcome by a bright light when they open the box. Instead they are hearing music before they ‘see the world through the Kinda’s eyes’ according to the novelization.
I like how Adric gets portrayed by Terrance Dicks since he’s written for him before in ‘State of Decay’ and some other Target novelizations. Terrance touches upon Adric’s fear of Hindle when he goes through his madness; being unstable and about to set off the master detonator to destroy the survey dome.
Terrance Dicks has written for the Fifth Doctor before in the previous Target novelization for ‘Four To Doomsday’. Terrance superbly describes the Doctor’s youthfulness, energy and impeccable curiosity as well as portraying the scientific friendship he has with Todd which was shown throughout the TV adventure.
I’m not sure whether there will be an audiobook for ‘Kinda’ someday. I’m sure there will be and I have a few ideas on who might read the reader. It could be Peter Davison, Janet Fielding or Matthew Waterhouse. Christopher Bailey might even write a new version of the novelisation himself for BBC audio.
I’ve enjoyed reading ‘Doctor Who – Kinda’ by Terrance Dicks. It’s not the best Target novelization that I’ve read, but it’s a fine addition to this unique surreal story about dreams and the Mara. Terrance has novelized the story well and reading it has made me feel like I’m watching the TV story again!
‘Doctor Who – Kinda’ rating – 7/10
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