‘The Twin Dilemma’ (TV)

the twin dilemma


Please feel free to comment on my review.

Colin Baker is the Doctor…whether you like it or not

‘The Twin Dilemma’ is Colin Baker’s first ‘Doctor Who’ adventure!

It’s also regarded by the fans as the worst ‘Doctor Who’ story ever made in the poll! This is a shame, as it’s Colin’s first appearance as the Sixth Doctor. Despite being given a weak story to start and tackle with in his tenure of ‘Doctor Who’; Colin Baker delivers an amazing (and loud!) performance.

I’ve had the DVD cover of ‘The Twin Dilemma’ signed by Colin Baker at the ‘Stars of Time Film and Comic Con’ @ The Tropicana’ in Weston-super-Mare, August 2016. I told Colin that I didn’t mind this story so much compared to how other fans rate it. He was very pleased to hear me say that to him.

This four-part story was tagged on at the end of Peter Davison’s third season. This was unusual, as all Doctors begin their tenure with the first story of the season instead of the last. But producer John Nathan-Turner decided to have Colin’s Doctor in action before his first season starts in the next year.

‘The Twin Dilemma’ takes place directly after ‘The Caves of Androzani’, where Peter Davison’s Doctor regenerated into Colin Baker. The new Doctor has become arrogant and smug. He has a tasteless sense in clothes; becomes rude and angry and he acts strangely when he attempts to strangle Peri.

This ‘Doctor Who’ story was originally by Anthony Steven, who was a newcomer to the TV series. But his original scripts didn’t work and they had to be re-written by script editor Eric Saward. Sadly, the script suffered problems as well as the production and it didn’t turn out to be the success that it was.

This story was also directed by Peter Moffatt, who had directed a number of ‘Doctor Who’ stories before this. Sadly, and this is no disrespect to Peter Moffatt’s direction, but this isn’t his greatest work. The story is typical of the 1980s and is too colourful, and that’s not just Colin Baker’s costume.

This story is a bold experiment to start off Colin’s era by making his Doctor unlikeable. It was a brave move, but it upset fans at the time who were watching this, especially after three years of Peter Davison’s Doctor. It was a matter of time on how Colin’s Doctor was to appeal to the viewing public.

The new era of ‘Doctor Who’ begins with a brand new title sequence designed by graphic designer Sid Sutton. From watching the title sequence, it looks very dazzling and colourful (too colourful in my opinion). Colin’s Doctor is also very colourful as he dons a new multi-coloured costume in this story.

I don’t think Colin’s multi-coloured costume suits his Doctor well. It’s simply outrageous and unbelievable to watch. It’s difficult to take Colin’s Doctor seriously. It makes him a figure of fun and a jester. It’s not a costume Colin would have chosen to wear and Peri tells him that he looks ‘dreadful’.

Aside from these negative aspects, Colin Baker delivers an extraordinary interpretation of the Doctor that was never seen before on TV. I liked Colin’s boldness in how he plays the Doctor; how he interacts with Peri and how he goes through the stages of his post-regeneration trauma in this story.

Nicola Bryant is wonderful as Peri in this adventure. She’s shocked by what the Doctor looks like after his regeneration. She misses Peter Davison’s Doctor already and doesn’t like the manner of clothes Colin’s Doctor wears. She’s shocked by his change in behaviour when he tries to strangle her.

I wondered why Peri puts up with Colin’s Doctor in the series. She could have easily left him as the Doctor was treating her badly and was dismissing her. By the end, she’s compassionate and caring and remains with this new Doctor. Despite his abrasive behaviour, she’s able to put him in his place.

In this story, the Doctor and Peri have to rescue two twin boys – hence ‘The Twin Dilemma’. The two twins are Romulus and Remus (not the two planets in ‘Star Trek’). These twins are mathematical geniuses, so that’s two more Adrics. What is it about this obsession with learning maths in the 1980s?

The two actors, Gavin (real name: Paul) and Andrew Conrad, who play the twins in this adventure are pretty inexperienced. You can tell that they’re doing their best to act, but sometimes I found them annoying, especially in scenes when they’re arrogant and showing off their mathematical skills.

The guest cast also includes Kevin McNally as Hugo Lang, lieutenant of the space police. Hugo is sent off to search for the young twins before he meets up with the Doctor and Peri. Hugo is a likeable character, but why he changed into a multi-coloured jacket instead of his police uniform I’ve no idea.

There’s also Maurice Denham as Professor Edgeworth, who kidnaps the twins. It turns out that he’s really a Time Lord called Azmael and an old tutor and friend of the Doctor’s. Azmael is working for a Gastropod named Mestor and has kidnapped the two boys in an attempt to save the planet Jaconda.

Edwin Richfield plays Mestor the Gastropod, the villain of the story. I’ve seen Edwin in ‘Doctor Who’ before in ‘The Sea Devils’, but I couldn’t recognise him in that Gastropod make-up as Mestor. Mestor the Gastropod is unconvincing as a ‘Doctor Who’ monster and is pretty weak in terms of a character.

The rest of the guest cast includes Dennis Chinnery (who was in ‘Genesis of the Daleks’) as Professor Sylvest, the twins’ father; Seymour Green as the Jacondan Chamberlain; Oliver Smith as Drak and Barry Stanton as Noma, two Jacondans; and Helen Blatch as Commander Fabian of the space police.

By the end, Peri is unhappy with how the Doctor has changed for her. But the Doctor insists that Peri waits before she judges him. In a way, the Doctor is telling the viewers to wait before judging him. Colin has done plenty of Big Finish audios that have expanded his Doctor in a larger ways than one.

The DVD special features are as follows. There’s an audio commentary with Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and Kevin McNally and an info-text commentary option. There’s also ‘The Star Man’, an interview with graphic designer Sid Sutton and ‘Look 100 Years Younger’ with Colin Baker and comedian Amy Lamé. There’s also the ‘Stripped For Action – The Sixth Doctor’ documentary. This is looks into the comic book adventures of the Sixth Doctor. There’s also a morning ‘Breakfast Time’ interview with Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant. There’s also a ‘Blue Peter’ interview with Colin Baker; continuities; a photo gallery and a ‘Radio Times Listing’ PDF. There’s also a ‘coming soon’ trailer for ‘The Keys of Marinus’ DVD with William Hartnell, William Russell, Jacqueline Hill and Carole Ann Ford.

So ‘The Twin Dilemma’ is a pretty rocky start for Colin Baker’s Doctor. The story isn’t great, but I enjoyed both Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant as the Doctor and Peri. Although Colin delivers a bold performance, his Doctor didn’t prove popular with the viewing public back then, which is a shame.

But no matter how you look at it, Colin Baker is the Doctor…whether you like it not!

‘The Twin Dilemma’ rating – 6/10

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For the Sixth Doctor was

For Peri was

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For Peri is

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6 thoughts on “‘The Twin Dilemma’ (TV)

  1. Timelord 007

    I class this one as a guilty pleasure, i think tagging this story on to the end of a very strong season didn’t do it any favours as the production budget had run out making the setting look cheap & tacky, you needed something more dynamic in introducing a new Doctor not a man in a rubber costume.

    I like Colins performance however as he brings a chilling unpredictability to the Doctor & shows moments of darkness never seen before gives the character a whole new dimension.

    A great review & fair rating for this Sixth Doctors debut adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tim Bradley Post author

    It is unusual that Colin Baker’s debut story in ‘Doctor Who’ should start at the end of a season rather than at the beginning of the season. I would have preferred ‘The Twin Dilemma’ as a season opener and would be patient to wait for nine months until the next season with Colin Baker’s Doctor to get over the departure of Peter Davison. It’s a shame the budget ran out on this story and the script could have worked better with more editing on the dialogue to make it sound better.

    I too like Colin’s performance in this story. He stands out for me as the unpredictable, loud Doctor as the beginning of his era. I wish he wasn’t always like that in his TV tenure as he came across as unlikeable throughout most of his stories. Thank goodness Big Finish have toned the Colin’s Doctor down and made him lighter; happier and become more interesting over the years in his audio adventures.

    Many thanks for your comments, Simon. Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘The Twin Dilemma’.

    Tim. 🙂


  3. Williams Fan 92

    Great review Tim.
    I just finished watching this story on Britbox. I wouldn’t call it a guilty pleasure, I just decided to watch it for completion sake. I’ve only seen two of Colin Baker’s tv stories (five if you count the four parts of ‘The Trial of a Timelord’ as seperate stories). If the story had opened Season 22 they might have been able to make the script work and use better production values. Hugo Lang was my favourite guest character played well by Kavin McNally from the Dad’s Army 2019 episodes.
    The Sixth Doctor was a mixed bag for me in this story. He showed genuine concern for Azmael and did a good job when face-to-face with Mestor. However, he was most definetely abrasive at times especially during the strangling scene. Poor Peri. I hope to get a better opinion of the Sixth Doctor when watching Season 22 and listening to his Big Finish audios. I’m sure his relationship with Peri improves as I saw it had in Season 23.
    P.s. I might be able to go to the Bedford Who Charity Con after all. Have you been to any of the previous ones or will this year be your first one?
    Take care, WF92.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi WF92,

      Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘The Twin Dilemma’. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this story. My review does require an update, which I hope will happen when it comes to the Season 21 Blu-ray box set of ‘Doctor Who’ whenever that comes out. Yes, ‘The Twin Dilemma’ could have worked better as a season opener and Kevin McNally is great as Hugo Lang in this. Who knew he would go on to be in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and the ‘Dad’s Army’ 2019 episodes. I found out he’s married to Phyllis Logan who is well-known for being in ‘Downton Abbey’ and she was in the ‘Doctor Who’ episode ‘The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos’ with Jodie Whittaker. So both have been in ‘Doctor Who’. 😀

      Yeah it’s a shame the Sixth Doctor divided fan opinion when he was in the TV series. Sometimes he can be unlikeable, sometimes he can be very enjoyable, which is an inconsistency in how his character developed in the TV series. Colin Baker still delivers great performances as his Doctor though. It’s a good thing that the Big Finish audios have been able to develop the Sixth Doctor’s character and have made him more likeable compared to how he was in the TV series.

      Well, that’s good to hear. Maybe I might see you in Bedford then. 😀 This will be my first trip to a ‘Bedford Who Charity Con’ so I’m hoping it’ll be good. I’ve read another chapter of ‘Four Time-Travellers and a Baby’. I wonder what the Master’s up to and fancy Nyssa finding that baby. What will happen next? 😀

      By the way, Series 2 of new ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ will begin on Channel 5 on Thursday 16th of September.

      Best wishes,

      Tim. 🙂


      1. Williams Fan 92

        As a side note, there is something I wanted to ask about the second chapter of ‘Four-Travellers and a Baby’. Did you find it funny that Michael, Nyssa and Tegan weren’t properly dressed when they confronted the Master?

        Liked by 1 person

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