‘EXPLORATION EARTH: THE TIME MACHINE’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Earth Exploration with the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane
This is a single-episode radio drama featuring Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor and Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith. It was part of the BBC School radio drama series that was made during the 70s.
This was an interesting if rather uninspired radio episode of ‘Doctor Who’. I appreciate the educational aspects of the episode, but this wasn’t very exciting and the story felt pretty flat for me.
The episode was by Bernard Venables, who makes his only contribution to ‘Doctor Who’. I don’t think the Doctor and Sarah Jane are written in character, since Tom and Lis didn’t change their lines.
To be fair, it is a little better than ‘The Pescatons’ story beforehand, but not that much. I enjoyed the drama interaction more between the Doctor and Sarah Jane in this episode compared to previously.
Tom Baker and Lis Sladen are joined by John Westbrook as the villainous Megron, who is the High Lord of Chaos in this episode. Megron didn’t do much for me as a villain, despite the booming voice.
There was a lot of jumping to and fro back to Earth for the Doctor and Sarah Jane in this. Also, it was interesting that the TARDIS had a capsule for the Doctor and Sarah Jane to go and explore the Earth.
In terms of placing this episode, it’s suggested it takes place between ‘The Masque of Mandragora’ and ‘The Hand of Fear’. This works considering it was shown after ‘Episode One’ of ‘The Hand of Fear’.
‘Exploration Earth: The Time Machine’ is not a very inspiring radio episode of ‘Doctor Who’. It was interesting for its educational value, but it didn’t do much for me. I did like Tom and Lis in this though.
‘Exploration Earth: The Time Machine’ rating – 4/10
‘WHATEVER HAPPENED TO…SUSAN’
This was tagged on at the end of ‘Exploration Earth’ on the same CD of ‘The BBC Radio Episodes’ collection. I heard this radio sketch before as it was presented on ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’ DVD.
This is what I call a spoof of ‘Doctor Who’ as it deals with one of the characters from the TV series and looking at ‘what happened’ to them. In this case, it’s on Susan, the Doctor’s granddaughter here.
I made the mistake of taking this seriously and believing that this was what actually happened to Susan. I was relieved to bits that this wasn’t the real Susan and that I didn’t need to take it seriously.
This radio sketch is by Adrian Mourby who contributed a lot to the ‘Whatever Happened to…’ series in the 1990s. Adrian is obviously taking the mick out of the ‘Doctor Who’ TV series and characters here.
Jane Asher plays Susan who is being interviewed on what happened to her after she left her grandfather. There’s also James Grout as Ian Chesterton and Andrew Sachs as Temmosus during this.
There’s also June Barrie as Barbara Wright and Eva Haddon as Jo Jones née Grant. Also there’s Peter Woodthorpe, who played Gollum in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ radio series, as Joey Oxford in this.
There are plenty of references to classic ‘Doctor Who’ stories from the 1960s as well as future ones in the 1970s and 80s. How Susan could have foreknowledge of future Doctors and events, I do not know.
‘Whatever Happened to…Susan’ is something I’d rather not listen to all the time. It’s not to be taken seriously and the characters of Susan and the others are way off. Though I suppose that is the point.
‘Whatever Happened to…Susan’ rating – 4/10
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