‘Meglos’ (TV)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

The Meglos Man Cometh

And no! I won’t be making any cactus puns like the ice puns Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze did in ‘Batman & Robin’. But the question still remains! Is the Doctor the cactus…or is Meglos the cactus? That’s something I’m sure John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch will be happy to answer. 😀

‘Meglos’ was the second TV story to be transmitted in the John Nathan-Turner era of ‘Doctor Who’. It’s a fascinating four-part adventure in Season 18 by John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch. This is sadly the duo’s only contribution to the TV series. It’s a shame, as they seem to be intriguing writers.

Incidentally, ‘Meglos’ was not the second ‘Doctor Who’ story to be made after ‘The Leisure Hive’. In production order, ‘The Leisure Hive’ was made first; then it was ‘State of Decay’; then it was ‘Meglos’. It’s intriguing that ‘Meglos’ was made third in production order during Season 18’s making.

This story was also directed by Terence Dudley. This is the first time that Terence Dudley makes a contribution to the TV series as a director on this story. Terence Dudley came from working on the BBC TV drama series ‘All Creatures Great and Small’. He was a director and a writer to the TV series.

In fact, many people who worked on ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ would go on to work on ‘Doctor Who’ itself during the 1980s. As well as Terence Dudley, John Nathan-Turner was the production unit manager for many of the episodes of ‘All Creatures’ before he became a ‘Doctor Who’ producer.

There were also other people like director Peter Moffatt; production assistant Peter Grimwade and writers Johnny Byrne and Anthony Steven who would go on to work from ‘All Creatures’ to doing ‘Doctor Who’ itself. There’s also a certain star in ‘All Creatures’ who would become one of the Doctors. 😀

After directing ‘Meglos’, Terence Dudley would go on to write my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘Black Orchid’ as well as writing ‘Four To Doomsday’ and ‘The King’s Demons’ in the Peter Davison era. I did enjoy how Dudley directed this ‘Doctor Who’ adventure, though not to the writers’ delight.

John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch wrote this ‘Doctor Who’ adventure as a comedy. In fact, this story has the feel of belonging to the Douglas Adams era of ‘Doctor Who’ from Season 17, even though script-editor Christopher H. Bidmead had commissioned the story himself from the two writers.

Yet, Dudley decided to not to direct it as a comedy. He took on the approach of directing it as a straight, serious adventure to keep in tone with the serious sombreness of Season 18. There are moments of humour to be found in ‘Meglos’, but those comedy moments are pretty rare to be found.

‘Meglos’ has a different style of pace and atmosphere compared to how ‘The Leisure Hive’ was made before it. In fact, you could say that the story takes on a relaxed attitude in terms of the direction made by Terence Dudley compared to how Lovett Bickford directed ‘The Leisure Hive’ with boldness.

I enjoyed ‘Meglos’ very much. Though like ‘The Leisure Hive’ before it, I wouldn’t say that this excited me as other ‘Doctor Who’ adventures have done. Season 18 would get better later on, especially with the introductions of some brand new companions to be featured in the next season.

I enjoyed the concepts that the two writers John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch came up with in their story. Certainly from watching what was discussed between the two writers in the DVD/Blu-ray special feature ‘Meglos Men’, it was pretty fascinating to hear their thoughts on the writing process.

You can tell that John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch were comedy writers as well as actors whilst they worked on the story of ‘Meglos’. This aspect is shown in how they created the guest cast e.g. the characters of General Grugger and Lieutenant Brotadac and how they came up with their names.

This is a doppelgänger story with Tom Baker’s Doctor. It also has a mysterious artefact which is a twelve-sided regular polyhedron called a Dodecahedron. It has space pirates and an evil shape-shifting cactus. Talking ‘serious’, hey, JNT and Chris Bidmead? There’s an evil shape-shifting cactus in this! 😀

In the story, the Doctor has been summoned to the jungle world of Tigella. This is while he and Romana are repairing K-9 in the TARDIS. It’s interesting how the Doctor happens to have visited Tigella before, but we’ve not seen that adventure documented on TV. It’s not in book or audio either (yet).

But before the Doctor can get to Tigella, he; Romana and K-9 get caught in some kind of time loop called a chronic hysteresis. And it’s one that they can’t seem to escape from. Sounds scary! Interesting that John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch came up with the idea when writing this tale.

Yet it was Chris Bidmead who came up with the name ‘chronic hysteresis’ for the time loop. That would be just so Chris Bidmead to come up with that name. The time loop of course is all the work of the megalomaniac Meglos, an evil shape-shifting cactus. Yes! Meglos is this shape-shifting cactus!

It’s interesting to find an enemy in the form of a shape-shifting cactus in this ‘Doctor Who’ story. All from the genius of John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch, no doubt! 😀 Actually that is a rather neat idea on their part. Meglos happens to be the last survivor of the Zolfa-Thurans according to this tale.

It was quite disturbing, scary and thrilling to see the cactus form of Meglos take over the human George Morris. Yeah, I know he’s credited as ‘the Earthling’, but that’s not what Terrance Dicks called him in the ‘Meglos’ novelization. His name is George Morris and that’s what I am calling him here. 😀

Anyway, Meglos has hired these space pirates called the Gaztaks, led by General Grugger. After taking over George Morris’ human form, he takes on the form of the Doctor once he has him and Romana trapped in the time loop whilst inside the TARDIS with K-9. Meglos isn’t taking any chances, is he? 😀

Meglos intends to steal the powerful crystal-like Dodecahedron from the Tigellans and restore it for his own uses on his own planet of Zolfa-Thura. Can the Doctor, Romana and K-9 stop Meglos in time before it’s all too late? It’ll be hard since the Doctor and Meglos look exactly the same as each other.

The concept of an evil cactus wanting to take over the universe is something that’s never been done before in ‘Doctor Who’. I’m not sure if it’s original though. It was enjoyable and fascinating to see Meglos as the cactus that can shape-shift into any person it wants to be and this also includes the Doctor.

I did like the time loop aspect of the story where the Doctor and Romana keep repeating the things they said. In the loop, the Doctor also keeps tripping over and K-9 wags his ears to say, “Thank you mistress! Repairs are complete!” It was amusing and scary to watch at the same time on DVD/Blu-ray.

If Harry Hill’s ‘TV Burp’ was still on ITV1 today, Harry would be jumping in to sort out the Doctor and Romana, wouldn’t he? 😀 It was funny when the Doctor and Romana finally escaped and he said to her, “You know, for one awful moment I thought you’d forgotten your lines.” Romana gives him a look. 😀

I enjoyed Tom Baker’s performance in this story. Not only does he get to play the Doctor, but also Meglos in the Doctor’s form. I was shocked when Meglos became the Doctor at the end of ‘Part One’. The Doctor also looking like a cactus in certain moments of the TV story was pretty frightening.

Tom looks amazing in that Meglos make-up of his. I’m not sure how comfortable Tom was with wearing that cactus-like make-up on his face and hands, but I’m sure Tom enjoyed playing the doppelgänger elements of the tale, especially since he was on his way out as the Doctor at this point.

Lalla Ward as Romana is equally good in this. I enjoyed how Romana shared scenes with the Doctor in the TARDIS, especially when they’re repairing K-9; get trapped in a time loop; and trying to get out of it. Romana has her own adventure of her own when she finds herself lost within the Tigella jungles.

Romana soon bumps into the space pirates and they force her to escort them to where the TARDIS is. I don’t think that this is the best story for Lalla Ward’s Romana in ‘Doctor Who’, but it is a fairly good outing for her all the same. Lalla also gets to enjoy wearing another glamorous costume in this.

It was great to hear John Leeson’s voice as K-9 in this adventure. I missed him in ‘The Leisure Hive’. 😀 I laughed when K-9 answered to one of the Doctor’s post-repair questions by saying, “Affirmative Mistress.” I did find it pretty mean of Bill Frazer’s General Grugger to want to kick K-9 at some point.

K-9 wasn’t treated well in this season by the producer John Nathan-Turner and script-editor Christopher H. Bidmead. Many attempts were made on K-9’s life in order to write him out of the series. But K-9 has good moments during this TV story, even as his power levels and batteries get low.

This story features the return of Jacqueline Hill. She played Barbara Wright, a companion to William Hartnell’s First Doctor during the early 1960s of ‘Doctor Who’. I was delighted to see Jacqueline’s return in this story and to have her play a different character compared to when she playing Barbara.

It’s unusual for an actor/actress who played a former ‘Doctor Who’ companion to return to play a completely different character in a ‘Doctor Who’ story. Mind you, William Russell, Maureen O’Brien, Anneke Wills and Deborah Watling have returned to play different characters in the Big Finish audios.

Here, Jacqueline plays Lexa, a spiritual ruler on the planet Tigella. Lexa believes the Dodecahedron to be sacred and she becomes distressed when it’s stolen. She’s determined to have the Doctor killed for sacrifice, since she believes he was the one that stole it, whereas it was actually Meglos who stole it.

Let’s be honest though, Jacqueline Hill wanted the Doctor sacrificed since he wasn’t William Hartnell anymore. He’s now Tom Baker. Who could blame her? 😀 Joking aside, I’m sure it must have been an unusual experience for Jacqueline to do ‘Doctor Who’ in 1980 compared to doing it in the early 1960s.

The story also features Bill Fraser as General Grugger and Frederick Treves as Lieutenant Brotadac, who are the space pirates called the Gaztaks. They’re two comedic characters in the same style of double acts from the Robert Holmes stories. You can tell they’re to provide the comic relief in the story.

It was amusing to discover that ‘Brotadac’ was an anagram for ‘bad actor’. Frederick Treves was delighted to hear that from writers John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch, but John Nathan-Turner wasn’t amused. Spoil sport! 😀 Brotadac seems to like the Doctor’s/Meglos’ burgundy coat very much.

The cast also includes Edward Underdown as Zastor, Crawford Logan as Deedrix, and Colette Gleeson as Caris. There’s an interesting division of science and religion between the inhabitants of Tigella. Zastor is the referee between the two groups and he happens to be an old friend of the Doctor’s here.

Christopher Owen guest stars as George Morris, the human who gets kidnapped and taken over by Meglos. I’m not sure how George Morris was captured by the Gaztaks; what time zome he taken from on Earth and why he was chosen for Meglos. I know his wife was waiting for him before he came home.

The planet Tigella is interesting, especially with the cannibalistic plant-life that’s there. Romana spends a lot of time out there in the Tigellan jungles and she’s get caught by plants as well as being terrorised by the Gaztak space pirates. She uses the hostile plant-life to her advantage to get rid of the Gaztaks.

It was also interesting to see how the Scene Synch technology was used to create the planet of Zolfa-Thura with the Gaztaks arriving in their spaceship and the screens used on the planet surface. Technology like the Quantel Paintbox and Scene Synch were used to create the effects with actors on blue screen.

The music for this story is interestingly composed by two composers: Paddy Kingsland and Peter Howell. As I gather, the music workload was shared between two composers because one of the composers wasn’t able to complete the score and the other had to step into the breach to finish it.

The original DVD special features were as follows. There was ‘Meglos Men’ which featured writers John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch reuniting and looking back over ‘Meglos’ with script editor Christopher H. Bidmead. There was also ‘The Scene Sync Story’, which is a behind-the-scenes look into how the Scene Synch technology was used during the making of ‘Meglos’ itself. There was the ‘Jacqueline Hill – A Life In Pictures’ tribute, looking at the actress who played Barbara Wright in the TV series. There was also ‘Entropy Explained’, a science featurette looking into the theme of entropy, which is featured throughout Season 18, particularly in the season finale called ‘Logopolis’. There was a photo gallery of the story. There were also audio options including a mono sound audio mix option for the story; a DVD audio commentary with Lalla Ward, Christopher Owen, co-writer John Flanagan and composers Paddy Kingsland and Peter Howell. There was also an isolated music option composed by Paddy Kingsland and Peter Howell to enjoy. There was also 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 Mutants’ with Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning. There was also an Easter Egg to look out for on the DVD, which was the clean opening and closing titles for Season 18 of ‘Doctor Who’ (which has now been updated and included on ‘The Leisure Hive’ Blu-ray disc).

On Disc 2 of the ‘Doctor Who – The Collection – Season 18’ Blu-ray, the ‘Meglos Men’ feature; ‘The Scene-Sync Story’; the ‘Jacqueline Hill – A Life In Pictures’ tribute; 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 ‘Entropy Explained’ science featurette isn’t included on the ‘Meglos’ Blu-ray disc and is instead included on the ‘Logopolis’ Blu-ray disc. The info-text commentary option and the photo gallery for ‘Meglos’ have been updated for 2019 on the Blu-ray.

The new special features on Blu-ray include the ‘Behind the Sofa’ feature on ‘Meglos’ with Tom Baker (the Fourth Doctor), costume designer June Hudson, and John Leeson (K-9) as well as Wendy Padbury (Zoe), Janet Fielding (Tegan), and Sarah Sutton (Nyssa). There’s also a BBC News Report announcing Tom Baker’s departure from ‘Doctor Who’ (taken from the ‘Logopolis’ DVD). There are also the updated BBC continuity announcements for ‘Meglos’. There’s also the ‘coming soon’ DVD trailer for ‘The E-Space Trilogy’ (‘Full Circle’, ‘State of Decay’ and ‘Warriors’ Gate’) with Tom Baker, Lalla Ward, Matthew Waterhouse and K-9 (taken from the ‘Battlefield’ DVD).

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.

‘Meglos’ is an interesting and fascinating story to watch in ‘Doctor Who’. It’s not the most exciting story I’ve seen, but I’ve enjoyed how John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch wrote their first and sadly only contribution to the TV series. Tom Baker is brilliant as the Doctor and Meglos in this story.

John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch were meant to contribute another ‘Doctor Who’ story which would have been the first of the Peter Davison era. That story would have been ‘Project: Zeta-Sigma’. Sadly it never came to be. It’s such a shame. I would love Big Finish to adapt that lost story into audio.

‘Meglos’ rating – 7/10


Please feel free to comment on my review.

The Earthling Has a Name in the ‘Meglos’ Novelization/Audiobook

For Terrance Dicks

It’s lovely to check out another Terrance Dicks-penned ‘Doctor Who’ Target novelization/audiobook!

Over the years, I’ve been checking out a number of ‘Doctor Who’ Target novelizations/audiobooks – both classic and new series. I’ve especially enjoyed checked out the Target novelizations/audiobooks of Season 18, featuring Tom Baker’s Doctor on the road to his exit before changing into Peter Davison!

They includes the novelizations/audiobooks of ‘Full Circle’, ‘State of Decay’, ‘Warriors’ Gate’, ‘The Keeper of Traken’ and ‘Logopolis’. In 2021, I checked out the novelization/audiobook of ‘The Leisure Hive’. So, it’s fitting that I check out the remaining novelization/audiobook in Season 18 – ‘Meglos’. 🙂

When I checked out ‘The Leisure Hive’ novelization/audiobook by David Fisher, I wasn’t particularly impressed by it. I found a lot of the sections I already knew to be featured in that TV story were omitted in the book/audio. There were also scenes compressed or paraphrased in the book/audio. 😦

So, it was a welcome relief to check out the ‘Meglos’ novelization/audiobook by Terrance Dicks, as it’s reassuringly straightforward and sticks to what was in the original scripts by John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch. Terrance was renowned for keeping to what was in the original scripts in prose!

‘Meglos’ is one of those ‘Doctor Who’ stories that I’m not particularly excited by, yet I’ve seen it enough times than I would’ve cared to have liked from watching it in the Season 18 Blu-ray box set. So, I knew what to expect and could visualise each scene easily when reading/hearing the book/audio. 🙂

It’s intriguing how Terrance Dicks tackles the ‘Meglos’ novelization. He remains faithful to what was in the original scripts by John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch, but also adds in new material to the story to make it clearer and provides extra dimension to what we know of some of the characters. 🙂

It’s fair to say that comes rarely when it comes to a ‘Doctor Who’ Target novelization by Terrance Dicks. There aren’t that many additions to find in ‘The Keeper of Traken’ novelization. But the additions Terrance provides in the story suit their purpose in order to enhance what’s occurring in it.

The ‘Meglos’ novelization was published in May 1983, three years after the TV story was shown from September to October 1980. First, it was published in hardback; then in paperback and eventually re-released in 1993. The original 1983 Target novelization’s cover was provided by Andrew Skilleter.

The story is divided into 12 chapters like any standard ‘Doctor Who’ novelization by Terrance Dicks. Mind you, the ‘Part One’ aspect of the story overlaps into Chapter 4, meaning less devotion on ‘Part Two’ in Chapters 4, 5 and 6. ‘Parts Three and Four’ have three chapters devoted to them in the book.

I purchased the ‘Meglos’ audiobook on Audible and played it on my android tablet when checking out each chapter of the ‘Meglos’ novelization. I purchased the paperback version of the ‘Meglos’ novelization from Amazon. The audiobook is read by none other than Jon Culshaw himself! Great! 😀

I’ve no problem with Jon Culshaw reading the ‘Meglos’ novelization for audio. He does do a good voice impersonation for Tom Baker’s Doctor and he previously read the ‘Warriors’ Gate’ Target audiobook. I’m accepting that Jon Culshaw can provide good readings for Fourth Doctor audiobooks.

I really like how Jon Culshaw voices the other characters as well as Tom Baker’s Doctor in the audiobook. He does a good voice impersonation of General Grugger, sounding like Bill Fraser in the TV series and he does a good voice for Brotadac (who is now called Brotodac in the novelization 😐 ).

Not sure why Brotadac’s name was changed to Brotodac in the novelization. Maybe Terrance Dicks didn’t like the anagram for ‘bad actor’ with Brotadac as much as John Nathan-Turner didn’t like it. Otherwise, Jon Culshaw reads and performs well whilst he does the ‘Meglos’ novelization for audio!

Jon Culshaw is also joined by John Leeson who voices K-9 in the audiobook. John Leeson does well voicing K-9 in the audiobook. Mind you, K-9 doesn’t get many lines of dialogue in the novelization, so there isn’t really much to say about how John Leeson voices K-9’s character in the audiobook here. 😐

I could take it back when I say that it was fun to hear how K-9 kept repeating “Thank you, mistress! Repairs complete!” and there’s a sound effect afterwards when reading/hearing the novelization/audiobook. It was also unusual to hear K-9’s voice distorted when power levels are low.

By the way, in terms of the ‘Meglos’ audiobook’s CD release, I believe was released on a 3-disc set with the first four chapters on Disc 1, the second four chapters on Disc 2 and the third and final four chapters on Disc 3. I’ve recently checked out the ‘Arc of Infinity’ audiobook to be very certain of this.

Anyway, let’s talk about what’s different in the Target novelization/audiobook as opposed to what was shown on the TV screen. The obvious difference of course in the Target novelization/audiobook is that the Earthling (played by Christopher Owen) is given a name. Wow! That’s clearly an improvement!

I like how Terrance Dicks names the ‘abducted earthling’ as George Morris. It would be such a shame if the young man who was captured to be possessed by Meglos wasn’t given a name in the TV story. It adds more dimension to the character when reading George Morris’ journey in the novelization. 🙂

The book contains a new opening where we see George Morris and his backstory as an assistant bank manager. I like how the opening delves into what George is looking forward to when he returns home to his wife and he’s given a glass of medium-dry sherry before he’s abducted by the Gaztaks. 🙂

To be honest, I think ‘Meglos’ would have worked better as a TV story if it opened up with the scene of George Morris being captured by Gaztaks after first believing they were students carrying out one of their Rag Week pranks. It certainly would have gripped the TV audiences in to watch this story. 😀

I’m surprised John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch didn’t come up with that when writing the story for TV. Or maybe they did and Chris Bidmead decided to cut it from the story’s transmission. At present, it seems Terrance Dicks provided the new opening himself, especially for the novelization. 🙂

I like how Terrance provides the emotional connection to us as readers/listeners when we get hints of what George Morris is going through when Meglos takes him over and uses his body to do his dirty work. I wish that had been emphasised more in the TV story when watching it on DVD/Blu-ray.

One of the problems I found with ‘Meglos’, especially in ‘Part One’, was how slow it was in starting things and setting things up with the supporting characters. It takes a long while for the Doctor, Romana and K-9 to get to Tigella as they’re busy repairing K-9 as well as being caught in a chronic hysteresis.

It seems to be the case when checking out the novelization/audiobook. I think things would have worked better if the Doctor, Romana and K-9 were involved in the story’s action earlier rather than later. Maybe have most of the chronic hysteresis scenes in ‘Part One’ and not halve it for ‘Part Two’.

From reading/hearing the book/audio, I felt I was able to gain more insight into the Savants and the Deons who were clashing with each other on Tigella. The Savants are more scientific and the Deons are more spiritual. Both groups are at each other’s throats, as leader Zastor referees between them.

I felt characters like Deedris, Caris and Lexa are given more depth in the novelization/audiobook compared to how they were seen in the TV story. I was able to take each character a piece at time whilst reading/hearing a chapter per day as I read on/heard the ‘Meglos’ novelization/audiobook.

It seems in the novelization that the word ‘Gaztak’ is a broad term for mercenary bands and not referring only to Grugger’s group. So, there could be more Gaztak groups in outer space in the ‘Doctor Who’ universe. I wonder if the Doctor will come across more Gaztaks in other adventures. 😐

I enjoyed how Grugger and ‘Brotodac’ interacted with Meglos, especially when carrying out his plans to steal the Dodecahedron and when the Gaztaks eventually betrayed their ally. Grugger’s hatred of Tigella after their battle with the Deon guards on the planet gets touched upon in the novelization. 🙂

In Chapter 11, I like how Meglos shares his backstory to Grugger and ‘Brotodac’ concerning why he did all he set out to achieve in his plans with abducting George Morris and how the Dodechaedron ended up on Tigella in the first place. It’s exposition I don’t believe was included in the TV adventure.

The novelization answers how Meglos’ species would be able to advance technologically as immobile cacti by their ability to take over the minds of other beings, implying they’re able to do it without technological means. If the episodes were longer on TV, this explanation would have been provided.

The scene where Grugger kicks the immobile K-9 is omitted in the novelization/audiobook. I’m glad Terrance Dicks omitted that as it wasn’t necessary and only on Bill Fraser’s request. I’m curious as to whether the scene was in the original script or whether Terrance deliberately omitted it in the book.

In the book, the Dodecahedron is referred twice as being a five-sided crystal. I did a double-take about that when revisiting my review for the TV story. I believe, in the TV version, the Dodecahedron is a twelve-sided regular polyhedron. As a five-sided crystal, it would make it become a penthedron.

Why it was changed from a polyhedron into a pentahedron by Terrance Dicks, I’ve no idea. Maybe having the Dodecahedron as a crystal is easier for Terrance Dicks to depict in the novelization. It doesn’t matter greatly since the Dodecahedron’s journey in the book/audio remains the same here.

Incidentally, it’s ironic that Terrance Dicks only wrote one TV story for Season 18 of ‘Doctor Who’ in ‘State of Decay’, yet he’s written about three novelizations based on stories in Season 18, including ‘Meglos’, ‘State of Decay’ and ‘The Keeper of Traken’. And they are a few of Terrance’s finest books!

Lexa’s character is interesting in the novelization compared to the TV story. We see how distrusting Lexa is of the Savants as well as the Doctor. She’s depicted as fiercer in her beliefs and seems less forgiving. This is a contrast to how Jacqueline Hill portrayed the character in the TV adventure itself.

I felt the scene where the Deon guard shares to Lexa and everyone else that he saw Meglos as the Doctor leaving Tigella more effective in the book compared to the TV story. It makes the tension more dynamic and less stilted, especially when the Doctor’s on the verge of being stoned to death. 🙂

The moment where Lexa self-sacrifices herself to save Romana from a surviving Gaztak is more effective in the book compared to the TV adventure. On TV, it’s briefly handled. Here in book/audio, the moment is explored more in terms of Lexa’s feelings as well as what the Gaztak’s actions were. 🙂

The book concludes with an extended ending of George Morris returning to Earth. I like that additional ending, especially since the TV story ended abruptly with the Doctor saying goodbye to Zastor on Tigella before Romana came out to tell him he and she are expected to return to Gallifrey.

We get to see George Morris reunite with his wife, who has no idea that he was abducted and taken over by Meglos. In some way, the scene sort-of echoes the ending of ‘The Three Doctors’ where Arthur Ollis returned to his wife. Then again, Terrance Dicks was the script-editor of that TV adventure.

As well as the writer of its Target novelization! 😀 Anyway, ‘Meglos’ the novelization/audiobook is a very good. It’s certainly better than ‘The Leisure Hive’ novelization/audiobook by David Fisher and it’s all thanks to Terrance Dicks for providing a straightforward and very easy-to-read novelization. 🙂

Jon Culshaw also provides a good reading of the story with John Leeson voicing K-9. I can’t say the novelization/audiobook changes my mind about ‘Meglos’ as a ‘Doctor Who’ story, but I’m able to appreciate it more in its TV version and its novelization/audiobook, which I’ve enjoyed checking out.

‘Doctor Who – Meglos’ rating – 8/10

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12 thoughts on “‘Meglos’ (TV)

  1. Timelord 007

    Dunno why Meglos gets flak from fans i think its a enjoyable story & way better than the nonsense Moffats been churning out.

    Tom is terrifying as Meglos & i remember this one terrifying me as a kid, the music in this is effectively creepy especially when Toms tied up, listen to the synthesizer & it’s echoing die die die freaked the 5 yr old me out that did lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tim Bradley Post author

    Hi Simon.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on ‘Meglos’. I don’t think the story is exciting as it could have been, but it’s a fairly decent adventure and enjoyable with a great performance by Tom Baker as the Doctor and Meglos.

    I wish Big Finish could adapt ‘Project Zeta-Sigma’ by John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric for audio. It would be interesting to hear what that story was like. I don’t know if there’s any behind-the-scenes information on the story featured in ‘DWM’.

    Tim. 🙂


  3. Timelord 007

    Blimey Tim you throwing everything but the kitchen sink into these updated reviews, excellent work.

    Tom Bakers chilling as Meglos & i like the concept, but again needed additional 5 mins per episode to iron out the plot, there’s to much footage from last weeks episode shown at the beginning of the episodes & it would’ve been better had these been edited & extras scenes added.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Oh these reviews took me a long while to update with adding more thoughts to the stories as well as updating the DVD/Blu-ray special features. I enjoyed updating my reviews but it was time-consuming. I guess it’ll be the same for when I update the Season 10 reviews. Hopefully I won’t have much the same issue with ‘The Macra Terror’ when I update it soon.

      Yes Tom Baker is chilling as Meglos. I enjoyed his performance in this and the story John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch came up with in this adventure was interesting. I’d like to check out the Target novelization by Terrance Dicks and see how that story fares differently to the TV version and whether it’s an improvement.

      I agree, the recaps take longer than the actual episodes themselves which shouldn’t be an issue. I don’t know why the recaps needed to be longer despite the need to remind viewers what happened the week before. It would’ve been better to edit the recap to make it shorter and quick as possible before getting onto the actual episode itself.

      Thanks for your comments, Simon.

      Tim. 🙂


  4. Michelle Heins

    Tim, do you have any idea what the emblem on Lexa’s robe and hat is? I’m attempting to recreate her costume, but i cant figure out what it is. I’ve been looking at ecclesiastical shops on line for priest robe emblems, but nothing. Its a shame that the costume design drawings aren’t available. A few of them are online. By the way, the photo of Lexa raising her arms was a big help to me. It shows specific small details I overlooked. The hats it going to be tough.

    I’ve always liked Meglos. Tom Baker was my first Doctor, so pretty much everything was fine with me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Michelle.

      Very pleased you like ‘Meglos’ and good to hear Tom Baker was your first Doctor.

      I’m afraid I don’t know what the emblem on Lexa’s robe and hat is. June Hudson was the costume designer on that story. I don’t recall her saying anything about Lexa’s costume in the ‘Behind the Sofa’ item she in for the Season 18 Blu-ray and sadly there isn’t a behind-the-scenes documentary and a costume design featurette looking into this. I’m sure it must be based upon an ecclesiastical design as surely June would have visited a church to gain inspiration for Lexa’s costume design. Glad you like the photos of Lexa by me, including the one with her raising her arms. Hope you’ll be able to recreate Lexa’s costume effectively. I’m sure it’ll be great.

      Many thanks,

      Tim. 🙂


  5. Williams Fan 92

    Great review Tim.

    I absolutely adored this story. It was tense when the Doctor was about to be sacrificed and when he came face-to-face with Meglos. It was nice to see K9 have a prominent role compared to ‘The Leisure Hive’. The other highlight for me was Jacqueline Hill as Lexa. I believe she was going to sacrifice the Doctor as punishment for kidnapping her and William Russell in 1963.

    There were a few cons however. I gave the scenes with the Doctor, Romana and K9 in the Tardis a pass when I realised what was going on. I felt as though the beginning of part 4 used too much of the end of part 3. But all in all, I found the story to be incredible.

    I’m enjoying Sarah, Janet and Wendy in ‘Behind the Sofa’. They are absolutely hilarious together. I liked it when Janet explained why she had a blanket on her in the edition for ‘The Leisure Hive’. She said it was because of her slender figure and not having much fat on her. Do you think Janet was having a cheeky and subtle crack about Sarah’s weight?

    Take care, WF92.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi WF92.

      Glad you enjoyed my review and glad you enjoyed ‘Meglos’. I’m hoping to check out the Target novelization soon with the audiobook read by Jon Culshaw. Yeah, I believe Jacqueline Hill did attempt to sacrifice the Doctor for kidnapping her and William Russell back in 1963. 😀

      Yeah it did take a while for the Doctor, Romana and K-9 to get into the story’s action after being stuck in the TARDIS for long in ‘Part One’. Yeah there was too much recap in ‘Part Four’ carrying on from ‘Part Three’. The episode should have started with Lexa saying “Thanks be to Ti” as the Doctor was about to have a huge stone dropped on him.

      I’m pleased you’re enjoying Sarah, Janet and Wendy in the ‘Behind the Sofa’ items. They are funny as a trio watching the Season 18 stories. I actually thought Janet was commenting on Wendy’s weight rather than Sarah’s. Janet did tend to tease Wendy quite a bit in the ‘Behind the Sofa’ items. I would have to check to be sure.

      Many thanks for your comments.

      Tim. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Timelord 007

    Great review on the audiobook Tim, i have it but not listened to it yet, it sounds like this is a better adaption to what was seen on Tv, i always felt this needed be longer each episode roughly 20 minutes instead of 25 & the show more of the previous episode when that should been cut & given each episode 25 minutes which would have added 20 minutes more to the plot.

    Really looking forward to hearing this now Tim, a w o wonderfully written review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon,

      Glad you enjoyed my review on the ‘Meglos’ novelization/audiobook. I’m currently checking out the ‘Frontios’ novelization/audiobook. I hope you’ll enjoy the ‘Meglos’ audiobook when you get the chance to hear it. It’s certainly a lot better with the George Morris enhancements at the beginning and at the end of the story.

      Many thanks for your comments.

      Have you seen my ‘Flux’ reviews for ‘War of the Sontarans’ and ‘Once, Upon Time’ yet?

      Tim 🙂


    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon,

      No worries. I look forward to your thoughts on the latest episodes as well as my reviews on them when you have a chance to check them out. I’m currently enjoying Series 13/’Flux’ so far. I’m looking forward to seeing ‘Village of the Angels’ next Sunday.

      Many thanks,

      Tim 🙂



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