‘The Claws of Axos’ (TV)

 

‘THE CLAWS OF AXOS’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

Axons and the Master with the Third Doctor, Jo and U.N.I.T.

“Axos calling Earth! Axos calling Earth!” ‘The Claws of Axos’ is a very bonkers ‘Doctor Who’ story from the early 1970s with Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor! But it was great fun to watch! I especially enjoyed revisiting the story on Blu-ray after watching it quite a number of times on its DVD releases.

‘The Claws of Axos’ is something of a classic. It’s an inventive, imaginative and original story from the Jon Pertwee era of ‘Doctor Who’. I purchased the original ‘Claws of Axos’ DVD from 2005 first before I later purchased the 2-disc Special Edition, which was released in 2012. I enjoyed both DVD releases.

Now I have the story in the Season 8 Blu-ray box set of ‘Doctor Who’! You can watch the original four-part story using the ‘PLAY ALL’ option or you watch it with its extended ‘Episode One’ where the story was originally called ‘The Vampire From Space’ in the ‘EPISODE SELECTION’. A bit like ‘Black Orchid’ on Blu-ray!

‘The Claws of Axos’ is by Bob Baker and Dave Martin. This is their first ‘Doctor Who’ story for TV, as they would go on to be regular contributors to the show in the 1970s. They would later pen stories like ‘The Mutants’, ‘The Three Doctors’, ‘The Sontaran Experiment’, ‘The Hand of Fear’ and more. 😀

With their first story ‘The Claws of Axos’, it’s full of crazy and bonkers ideas that must have driven script editor Terrance Dicks insane. 😀 Nevertheless, Terrance Dicks invited the Bristol boys (as they were called then) back for more ‘Doctor Who’ stories as did Robert Holmes and Anthony Read years later.

At conventions, I’ve had my original DVD cover of ‘The Claws of Axos’ signed by Richard Franklin at ‘Big Blue Box 2’ in Tunbridge Wells, March 2013 and by Katy Manning, John Levene, Bernard Holley and co-writer Bob Baker at ‘Pandorica 2014’ in Bristol, September 2014. I’m lucky to have it signed. 🙂

The story involves the typical Earth invasion-type of story in early 1970s ‘Doctor Who’, featuring the Third Doctor, Jo, the Brigadier, Captain Mike Yates, Sergeant Benton, the Master and U.N.I.T. I know this gets repeated quite a bit in the Jon Pertwee era, but at least the stories are colourful to watch. 🙂

In the story, a strange alien ‘spaceship’ approaches Earth and eventually lands on the planet. The ‘ship’ contains the Axons from Axos. They call Earth for help, saying that they need to refuel before they can take off again. The Doctor, the Brigadier and some politicians visit these Axons in the ‘ship’.

In exchange for letting them stay on Earth for a bit, the Axons offer the humans a ‘gift’ called Axonite. Axonite happens to be a thinking molecule which can grant human advances in food and power supplies. The humans are easily seduced by the benefits of Axonite and they very soon take it.

But as the Doctor and his friends from U.N.I.T. discover, all of this is part of a dastardly plan by the Axons when they intend to suck the planet Earth dry of energy. And the Master’s involved in all of this somehow. Can the Doctor trust the Master when requiring his help to thwart the Axons’ plans? 😐

There is a lot of psychedelic imagery featured in the story, especially when our heroes visit inside the Axons’ ship. The story’s director Michael Ferguson (who previously directed ‘The War Machines’, ‘The Seeds of Death’ and ‘The Ambassadors of Death’) was keen to use ‘new’ technology at the time.

It does look very impressive in terms of the execution of that technology, especially we see the surreal atmosphere of being inside the Axon ship and when we see Jo being aged to death before the Doctor’s eyes. It’s no surprise that ‘The Claws of Axos’ became an instant classic in the TV series.

Many years later, Big Finish would do a sequel to ‘The Claws of Axos’ called ‘The Feast of Axos’, featuring Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor. I also like the earthbound setting of the story, although weather conditions weren’t kind to the cast and crew when there tended to be a lot of fog and snow then. 😐

Jon Pertwee is excellent as the Third Doctor in this adventure. He’s definitely at his dashing and heroic best when playing the Doctor on TV. It’s also fascinating to explore how the Doctor is now exiled to Earth by the Time Lords and to see how he copes in working with U.N.I.T. on planet Earth. 🙂

I liked that scene in ‘Episode One’ (whether it’s the original or extended cut) where Jon’s Doctor gets agitated by Mr Chinn’s persistent querying on who he is and that he isn’t welcome. There’s a defining moment when the Doctor erupts in anger at Chinn’s ‘British’ ways, but Chinn is so unperturbed by that.

The Doctor is quickly suspicious about the Axons and their claim to be low on power when their ship ends up on Earth. He analyses and discovers what the Axonite property really is when experimenting on it in a lab. It transpires that the Axons, the Axonite and the Axos spaceship are all the same thing.

I love Katy Manning as Jo Grant in this story. Katy is a lovely person, full of delightful energy and personality. I’m pretty amazed that I’ve met Katy at ‘Doctor Who’ conventions over the years. She always comes across as enthusiastic when I meet her at conventions and doing ‘Doctor Who’ stuff. 🙂

I don’t think Jo Grant gets to do much in this adventure and I don’t think she has much character development. Her scenes with Jon Pertwee’s Doctor are great to watch and I like how she can stand up for herself whilst being feminine at the same time. It’s those sides of Jo’s character that I enjoy. 🙂

I liked it when Jo became curious going into the Axos ship. She gets a shock when she hears Filer and a scare when an Axon in real-form appears out of nowhere before her. Like I said, that horrible moment where Jo ages to death before the Doctor’s eyes is pretty impressive 1970s effects work. 😀

Nicholas Courtney is great as the Brigadier in this adventure. The Brig leads his men into action when the Axons attack Earth. He does get easily annoyed and frustrated once Chinn starts interfering with U.N.I.T. operations and tries to take over the Axos business. I’m certain I would feel like the Brig here.

The Brigadier doesn’t like it when Chinn brings in the regular army and has him and his men are arrested. Thankfully, the Brig is able to phone up Geneva later on to reverse the emergency powers given to Chinn to out-rule U.N.I.T.’s operations in this Axos business. The Brig is good at taking charge.

I liked it when the Brigadier, Mike Yates and Benton managed to catch the Master in the power reactor room before they reluctantly help the Master to stop Axos from destroying the world. I liked it when the Brigadier protested about the Master destroying Axos with the Doctor and Jo still inside.

Roger Delgado returns as the Master in this adventure. At the time of seeing ‘The Claws of Axos’ on the 2005 DVD, this was the first time I’d seen Roger Delgado as the Master in ‘Doctor Who’ properly. I had seen Anthony Ainley’s Master beforehand and I would later see John Simm playing the Master.

Seeing Roger Delgado as the Master in this ‘Doctor Who’ story is a treat. I really enjoyed how he played the character with such evil and charm in the mix. It would be a while later that I realised how popular Roger Delgado was playing the villainous Time Lord against Jon Pertwee’s Doctor here.

The Master initially works with the Axons since he’s made a bargain with them. The Axons won’t give him back his TARDIS however. I liked the Master’s scenes with the Doctor here, as Jon Pertwee and Roger Delgado spark off each other as opponents, speak quite charmingly when working together. 🙂

I enjoyed Richard Franklin as Captain Mike Yates and John Levene as Sergeant Benton in the adventure. The two army gents don’t get much character development in this story as they’re mostly doing the action scenes and standard soldier stuff with their characters, which is quite fair I suppose.

Mike Yates and Benton do pretty well when they’re battling against the Axons in this adventure. I enjoyed the scene in ‘Episode Four’ where Mike Yates and Benton are in a jeep driving back to the Nuton Power Complex and they’re being attacked by the spaghetti-like Axons when out on location.

I’m curious as to how Benton didn’t recognise the Master’s voice when he was disguised as an army general (I think) and wearing a mask. Couldn’t Benton recognise the Master’s voice? Was Benton under hypnosis? I truly think Benton should’ve made a ‘thorough’ check of the Master’s credentials.

Just to talk about John Levene for a bit, I’ve met him at two conventions, including the ‘Pandorica 2014’ event in Bristol, September 2014 and the ‘Bournemouth Film and Comic Con’ in August 2015. I’ve also had a photo with him and Katy Manning at the ‘Film & Comic Con Glasgow’, August 2019. 🙂

John Levene seems to be an interesting person in real-life. I enjoyed watching him on an interview panel at the ‘Pandoria 2014’ convention. I’ve also enjoyed chatting to him during a signing, sharing what stories I liked with him as Benton and chatting to him about Jon Pertwee and Roger Delgado. 🙂

At the time of this review, I can safely say that I’ve met all of the surviving members of the U.N.I.T. family from the Jon Pertwee era of ‘Doctor Who’, including Katy Manning, Richard Franklin and John Levene. I wish I could have met Jon Pertwee, Nicholas Courtney and Roger Delgado at conventions. 😦

The story’s guest cast includes Paul Grist as Bill Filer, an American agent from Washington who has the sole purpose of capturing the Master for U.N.I.T.. Filer is a genuinely good guy, though he has bad luck when he’s being captured by Axos and has a Axon duplicate made of him to capture the Doctor.

Peter Bathurst guest stars as Mr. Chinn in the story. Mr. Chinn is a clearly unlikeable politician who wants to put U.N.I.T. out of the way and handle the distribution of Axonite in Britain and later the world himself. Chinn might not have the support of his boss Kenneth Benda as the Defence Minister though.

Tim Pigott-Smith guest stars as Captain Harker of the regular army who first arrests the Brigadier and U.N.I.T. on Chinn’s orders. Tim Pigott-Smith would later go on to appear in ‘The Masque of Mandragora’ with Tom Baker as well star in the TV versions of ‘North and South’ in 1975 and 2006. 🙂

There’s also Donald Hewlett as Sir George Hardiman in the story. Years later, I would come to realise that Donald Hewlett was also in the BBC sitcoms ‘It Ain’t Half Hot Mum’ and ‘You Rang, M’Lord?’ by Jimmy Perry and David Croft. It’s so surreal now to see Donald Hewlett in this ‘Doctor Who’ TV story.

David Savile guest stars as Winser, a fellow scientist whom the Doctor works with on the Axonite project. David Savile previously played Carstairs in ‘The War Games’ and would later play Colonel Crichton in ‘The Five Doctors’. Winser is angry once the Doctor tampers with the Axonite in his lab. 😐

The story also features the return of Fernanda Marlowe as Corporal Bell, who previously appeared in ‘The Mind of Evil’. Corporal Bell reports to Captain Yates that there’s severe weather on the South East coast where the Axons land. I do wish that Corporal Bell appeared in more ‘Doctor Who’ stories.

And there’s Derek Ware as Pigbin Josh. Derek Ware is usually a stuntman on ‘Doctor Who’ and he plays an unintelligible tramp who rides his bike on the South East coast in the snow and fog. It was funny once Pigbin Josh encountered the Axon spaceship and got pulled into it by its tentacles. 😀

It was also funny when Pigbin Josh accidentally fell into the river on his bike. I can imagine the water was very cold for Derek Ware to fall into, since it was heavy snow around that time. I’m amazed the film crew managed to get the footage they wanted for ‘The Claws of Axos’, despite the bad weather.

Axos or the Axons are an interesting ‘Doctor Who’ monster. They’re led by Bernard Holley who plays the Axon Man. There’s also Patricia Gordino as the Axon Woman, John Hicks as the Axon Boy and Debbie Lee London as the Axon Girl, though the latter three don’t get to say a line in this adventure.

Bernard Holley played Peter Haydon in ‘The Tomb of the Cybermen’. He would later return to play Axos in ‘The Feast of Axos’ as well as do more Big Finish audios like the audio adaptation of ‘Love and War’. I’ve also seen Bernard Holley in the ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ 1993 Christmas Special. 😀

At first, the Axons seem to be beautiful and golden-looking when the Doctor, the Brigadier, Chinn, Hardiman and Winser meet them. But their gold appearance is a disguise, since their true form happens to be spaghetti-like. They appear so ugly and grotesque to look at when in their real forms.

There are times when I couldn’t take the Axons as spaghetti monsters as seriously as I should have done. This is when the Axon spaghetti monsters attack Mike Yates and Benton in their jeep on their way back to the Nuton Power Complex and when they fight everybody inside that power complex. 😐

The concept of the Axons, the Axonite and the Axos spaceship as being one of the same thing is very clever though. It does make the Axons more complex as an alien species. It took me a number of watches to get my head around that concept, but it does become clearer the more times you watch it. 🙂

The story concludes the Doctor managing to trick the Axons and their Axos spaceship into a time loop before he escapes from it in his TARDIS. However the TARDIS takes the Doctor back to Earth as the Time Lords have programmed the ship to return to Earth due to his exile, which he isn’t happy about. 😐

The original DVD special features were as follows. There were deleted and extended scenes with studio recordings and optional info-text commentary to enjoy; and audio options including a mono sound audio mix option for the story and a DVD audio commentary with Katy Manning, Richard Franklin and producer Barry Letts. There was also an info-text commentary option to enjoy. There was also an ‘Easter Egg’ which was the 10-minute ‘Reverse Standards Conversion’ DVD restoration documentary, looking into the restoration of ‘The Claws of Axos’ on the 2005 DVD.

There was the making-of documentary called ‘Axon Stations’ featuring behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews. There was also the ‘Now & Then’ featurette which looked into the filming locations of ‘The Claws of Axos’ and is narrated by Katy Manning. There was the ‘Directing Who’ interview with director Michael Ferguson on ‘The Claws of Axos’. There was the complete ‘studio recording’ footage on ‘Episodes One and Two’ of the story, which is over 70 minutes in length compared to the ‘deleted and extended scenes’ featurette. There was ‘Living with Levene’, an interesting and special documentary where ‘Doctor Who’ fan and comedian Toby Hadoke spent a weekend with John Levene (Benton) in Salisbury. Toby Hadoke later did ‘A Weekend with Waterhouse’ with Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) on the ‘Full Circle’ disc for the Season 18 Blu-ray box set of ‘Doctor Who’. 😀 I would like to spend a weekend with Sarah Sutton (Nyssa) since she’s my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ companion. 😀 There was also a photo gallery of the story and PDF materials including a ‘Radio Times Listings’ of the story. There was also a ‘coming soon’ trailer for ‘The Legacy Collection’ DVD box set which included the 1992 VHS version of ‘Shada’ with Tom Baker and Lalla Ward on a 2-disc 2013 DVD as well as the 30th anniversary documentary ‘More Than 30 Years In The TARDIS’.

On Disc 3 of the ‘Doctor Who – The Collection – Season 8’ Blu-ray, the deleted and extended scenes with studio recordings and optional info-text commentary, the mono sound audio mix option for the story, the DVD audio commentary, the ‘Reverse Standards Conversion’ DVD restoration documentary, the ‘Axon Stations’ making-of documentary; the ‘Now & Then’ featurette, the ‘Directing Who’ interview with director Michael Ferguson, the complete ‘studio recording’ footage on ‘Episodes One and Two’ of the story, and the ‘Radio Times Listing’ PDF can be found on there. The info-text commentary option and the photo gallery for ‘The Claws of Axos’ have been updated for 2021 on the Blu-ray.

The new special features on Blu-ray include the ‘Behind the Sofa’ feature on ‘The Claws of Axos’ with Katy Manning (Jo Grant) and Stewart Bevan (Clifford Jones) as well as Sarah Sutton (Nyssa) and Janet Fielding (Tegan) as well as Anjli Mohindra (Queen Skithra from ‘Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror’ and Rani Chandra in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’) and Sacha Dhawan (The Master). There are BBC trailers and continuity announcements for the story; a ‘coming soon’ trailer for ‘Colony In Space’ with Jon Pertwee, Katy Manning, Nicholas Courtney and Roger Delgado (taken from the ‘Day of the Daleks’ 2-disc Special Edition DVD); and 2005 DVD restoration versions of ‘Episodes Two and Three’ to enjoy. There’s also the extended version of ‘Episode One’ called ‘The Vampire From Space’ to enjoy.

On the PDF front, as well as the ‘Radio Times Listings’ of the story, there are production documents and scripts for the story. You need a special Blu-ray computer drive for that. The ‘Living with Levene’ documentary is available on Disc 7 of the Season 8 Blu-ray box set of ‘Doctor Who’.

‘The Claws of Axos’ is a very imaginative ‘Doctor Who’ story that’s impressive for its time from the early 1970s. The story has a fun atmosphere to it and it’s very engrossing to watch with the Third Doctor, Jo, U.N.I.T and the Master. I find it compelling every time I watch it on DVD and on Blu-ray. 🙂

I’m pleased that I’ve had my original DVD cover of the story signed by Katy Manning, Richard Franklin, John Levene, Bernard Holley and co-writer Bob Baker at conventions. Incidentally, Bob Baker would later go on to work with Nick Park in the Wallace & Gromit films. Amazing that, isn’t it?

‘The Claws of Axos’ rating – 8/10


  

‘DOCTOR WHO AND THE CLAWS OF AXOS’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

Deep Into The Heart of Axos

For Terrance Dicks

I wonder if Terrance Dicks’ ‘Doctor Who’ Target novelizations are the best ones out of the lot. 😀

I’ve read and listened to ‘Doctor Who and the Claws of Axos’ by Terrance Dicks! This is the Target novelization/audiobook on the TV story, which was shown in 1971 during Jon Pertwee’s second season as the Doctor (Season 8). I greatly enjoyed reading and listening to ‘The Claws of Axos’ novelization/audiobook.

‘The Claws of Axos’ is a ‘Doctor Who’ story that has a bonkers’ attitude to it, especially from the minds of Bob Baker and Dave Martin. Thankfully, Terrance Dicks, who wrote a lot of the Target novelizations of ‘Doctor Who’, manages to deliver a clear and coherent book version of the tale for readers to enjoy.

I seem to find Terrance Dicks a good writer for these Target novelizations of ‘Doctor Who’ compared to other writers I’ve come across when reading and sometimes hearing the books. Terrance Dicks always delivers faithful novelizations of the stories shown on TV, including the ones not written by him.

And if anyone is wondering, I have met Terrance Dicks in real-life at ‘The Capitol II’ convention at the Arora Hotel in Gatwick, May 2017. It was brief, and I managed to get an autograph from him, but I’m glad I met and told Terrance how much I enjoyed his Target novelizations which he was pleased about.

The Target novelization of ‘The Claws of Axos’ was originally published in 1977, six years after the story was transmitted on TV. I purchased the 1979 edition of the Target novelization from Amazon.co.uk, which has the images of the golden Axon Man and two spaghetti-looking Axon monsters on the cover.

Speaking of which, the two Axon monsters on the 1979 edition book cover are…green. Not orangey-coloured as I would expect Axons to be. This feels wrong somehow. The Axons look like Krynoids from ‘The Seed of Doom’ on the book cover. I know they re-used the Axon costumes for the Krynoids.

But still, why did the publishers decide to go for green-coloured looking Axons where they could easily be mistaken for Krynoids. Did they base the Axons on the costumes that were repainted for the Krynoids in ‘The Seeds of Doom’? That would make sense, but didn’t they have publicity photos of the Axons as well?

The story is divided into 12 chapters in the book. This is the usual Terrance Dicks approach to dividing the story into chapters in book form, but it doesn’t match the exact same episode structure with its cliff-hanger endings. This was the case for Terrance Dicks’ approach to the ‘Terror of the Autons’ novelization.

The cliff-hanger endings for the ‘Part One’ and the ‘Part Three’ segments of the story are in the book. But for the ‘Part Two’ segment, it doesn’t end with the Doctor, Jo and Filer being attacked by Axons. It finishes a bit earlier with the Doctor attacked by the Filer duplicate sent by the Axons to collect him.

In the audiobook for the novelization, the story is read by Richard Franklin who played Mike Yates in the TV series. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard Richard Franklin read a ‘Doctor Who’ audiobook. He also read and performed ‘Vengeance of the Stones’ as well as the audiobook for ‘Last of the Gaderene’.

I was delighted to hear Richard Franklin read the story. Richard’s a great narrator and provides good tones for the voices of the Third Doctor, Jo Grant, the Brigadier and Sergeant Benton as well as Mike Yates himself. I liked his voice for Mr. Chinn in the story as well as the American accent he provided for Filer.

In terms of changes to the story’s plot…well, there’s not much to be mentioned. As I’ve said, Terrance remains true to what was in the original story. He embellishes more though on the thoughts and feelings of certain characters, since he knows the Jon Pertwee era of ‘Doctor Who’ inside and out here.

In the novelization, Terrance reinserts the scenes that were cut from the original edit of the story as demonstrated in the DVD/Blu-ray special features both for the original and the 2-disc Special Edition releases. I recall the early scenes cut out from ‘Part One’s original edit and I’m so glad to find them in the book.

This includes the scene where Jo Grant meets Bill Filer for the first time and where Bill mistook Jo for being a man upon arrival. I’m disappointed that scene wasn’t included in the final edit of the story as it would have set up the relationship we were going to see between Jo Grant and Bill Filer pretty well.

I like how the Brigadier’s thoughts and feelings about Chinn are explored in the novelization, since he clearly doesn’t like working with and for him. There’s even a point where the Brigadier daydreams about having Chinn taken out the back and shot through the head. That’s a bit extreme isn’t it, Brigadier?

Chinn also comes across as very unlikeable as he did in the TV story. It’s clear in the novelization that Chinn is a stupid man and is only concerned for gaining the credit in his political situation. His determination to see U.N.I.T., the Brigadier and the Doctor out of the way is explored further in book.

It was interesting how Chinn interacted with the Defence Minister in the book and how Richard Franklin voiced that character in the audiobook. Richard has the Minister laughing whilst talking to Chinn, which is a complete contrast to how Kenneth Benda played the character in that very cold, efficient manner.

The Pigbin Josh scenes in the story are all confined to one sequence in the book. This is different in how the TV story did it, considering they cut from U.N.I.T. HQ back to Pigbin Josh out on the snowy road before discovering Axos time and time again. I think it works fine to have Pigbin Josh in one scene.

Incidentally, Corporal Bell doesn’t make an appearance in the Target novelization of ‘The Claws of Axos’…at all! I suppose Fernanda Marlowe was well-liked for her appearance in ‘The Mind of Evil’ to make an appearance in ‘The Claws of Axos’. A shame Terrance didn’t reuse the character in the book.

It was interesting to find how Jo Grant had some suspicions about the Doctor siding with the enemy when he took an interest in Winser’s scientific experiments with the Particle Accelerator. This is even during when the Doctor asks Jo to tell him what she saw when she thought she heard Filer’s voice in the Axons’ ship.

The suspicions Jo has about the Doctor siding with the enemy resurface when the Doctor convinces everyone that he’s joining the Master when attempting to leave planet Earth. It was interesting to find how Jo was so anxious about the Doctor leaving Earth and her feelings over it get explored in the book.

The Doctor and Jo are inseparable when held captive in the Axon ship. The Doctor doesn’t have to go off and find Jo when the Axon ship gets under attack by the Master with the Particle Accelerator. Even when the Doctor sees Jo aged to death by the Axons, they don’t separate from each other in this.

The Doctor even checks Jo to see that she’s alright after her aging to death experience, to which she assures him that she’s alright. The scene where the Doctor and Jo try to get out of Axos and the Doctor helps Jo to recite her times table as they get out was so tense and gripping to read/hear in book/audio.

I don’t think it’s clearly established how the Master ran into the Axons after escaping Earth in the first place. I assume the Master ran into the Axons after he left Earth in ‘The Mind of Evil’. The references made to the Master in ‘Terror of the Autons’ and ‘The Mind of Evil’ from Jo Grant’s point of view do get established.

When the Doctor is about to leave with the Master in the TARDIS and Bill Filer pulls out a gun to stop them, it’s the Master who lets out the Doctor is coming with him. In the TV version, it was the Doctor who openly declares he’s going with the Master before Filer pulls out a gun. Not sure which is better here.

In the climax where the Doctor catches Axos in a time loop, it’s not established that there are Axons piled on top of the Doctor inside the TARDIS console room. The book just has the Doctor hearing ‘the voice of Axos’ speaking to him whilst he presses a button for the TARDIS to escape from the time loop.

The book concludes with an extended ending as there’s additional dialogue after the Doctor says he feels like ‘a cosmic yoyo’ rather than ‘an intergalactic yoyo’ when his TARDIS gets pulled back to Earth. There’s also arguing between the Doctor, the Brigadier, Mike Yates and Benton on moving his TARDIS.

‘Doctor Who and the Claws of Axos’ has been an enjoyable and faithful novelization of the TV story by Terrance Dicks. I’m glad I read and heard it, especially with Richard Franklin reading the story in the audiobook. The story does feel clear and coherent in terms of reading the book and hearing the audio.

I also like how the characters and their motivations are explored in the story compared to the TV version. You get hints of their motivations when watching the TV story of course, but it’s nice for Terrance Dicks to have it explained to us and he’s well into the characters of the Third Doctor era here.

‘Doctor Who and the Claws of Axos’ rating – 8/10


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For Jo is

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For Benton is

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6 thoughts on “‘The Claws of Axos’ (TV)

  1. Timelord 007

    One of my favourite Third Doctor stories, Jon Pertwee is freaking awesome in this, i love his put downs attacking Chins pompous beliefs, it’s just brilliant, ok the spaghetti monsters look a little naff but this is a action packed entertaining kick ass Unit adventure featuring The Master what’s not to like.

    Awesome review Tim, i enjoyed reading your anecdotes about meeting Katy, Richard & John, i met Katy & she’s lovely very warm & approachable she said i was adorable, if Jo Grant thinks I’m adorable who am i to argue, that made my eternity lol.

    The Living With Levine Documentary is hilarious, i didn’t have a pleasant experience meeting John as he was rather abrupt with my cousin at a convention to which i politely told him what i thought of his attitude lol.

    The Feast Of Axos is a excellent Big Finish sequel to this which i recommend you checkout my friend, tense atmospheric audio drama.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Very pleased to hear you like this ‘Doctor Who’ story. It is very good and enjoyable to watch with Jon Pertwee’s Doctor, Jo Grant, U.N.I.T., the Master and the spaghetti-like Axons in it.

      Glad you enjoyed my review and me meeting Katy Manning, Richard Franklin and John Levene. I’m hoping to meet Katy Manning again at another convention in Folkestone soon later in May. She is very warm-hearted and easy to chat to at conventions. I know that’s not the same with John Levene, but I’m glad I’ve had my share of meetings with him at conventions to know what he’s like.

      I have listened to ‘The Feast of Axos’ actually. The reason why I posted this review of ‘The Claws of Axos’ today was because I was reviewing the Thomas Brewster trilogy of Big Finish audios with Colin Baker. Expect my reviews on ‘The Crimes of Thomas Brewster’, ‘The Feast of Axos’ and ‘Industrial Evolution’ soon.

      Thanks for your comments, Simon.

      Tim. 🙂

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      Reply
  2. Timelord 007

    Great Target reviews of novel/audiobook Tim you summarized it perfectly, i didn’t think the Brigader daydreaming having Chinn shot is in tone with his character, i think the Brig would say to Chinns face what he thought of his actions not day dream about having him shot lol.

    However minor quibble aside this is a faithful adaption of a very weird & wonderful Third Doctor adventure, it’s a shame those scenes with Jo & Bill were cut from the transmitted episodes but it’s nice to hear/read them in the Target adaption & Terrance Dicks keeps the story faithful to Dave & Bob’s original story.

    Love when the Doctor berates Chinn always gives me goosebumps that scene.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Apologies for my late reply.

      Very pleased you enjoyed my review on ‘The Claws of Axos’ novelization/audiobook. Yeah, I wouldn’t have gone with the Brigadier daydreaming about having Chinn shot. It just seems out of character. But I do agree with you, the Brig would say it directly in front of Chinn’s face in order to express how serious he is in doing his job as commander of U.N.I.T.

      Yeah I agree. This is a very faithful novelization of ‘The Claws of Axos’ by Terrance Dicks based on Bob Baker and Dave Martin’s scripts. It is a shame the early scenes between Jo and Bill were cut out of the final edit of the first episode, but I’m glad to see them in an extended version of the episode on the Special Edition DVD as well as in the novelization/audiobook itself.

      Chinn is easily unlikeable in the novel/audio as well as the TV version. I’m surprised he never returned to the series.

      Many thanks for your comments, Simon.

      Tim. 🙂

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  3. Williams Fan 92

    Great review Tim.

    This is yet another evening reply so feel free to wait until tomorrow morning to reply.

    Anyway, I enjoyed ‘The Claws of Axos’ both on Blu-Ray and on audio. The Doctor, Jo, the Brigadier, Benton, Yates and the Master were all brilliantly written and played as usual. It was very tense towards the end when the Doctor looked like he wouldn’t get out of the building in time, but he did. I found the Axons/Axonite to be menacing especially when Jo was nearly aged to death. I also enjoyed Bill Filer although Mr. Chinn was quite irritating. So far ‘The Claws of Axos’ is my second favourite story from Season 8 behind ‘The Mind of Evil’ and ahead of ‘Colony in Space’ and ‘Terror of the Autons’. I’ll see where I put ‘The Daemons’ on the list once I’ve finished it.

    Dave Martin and the late Bob Baker wrote well for the tv version and Terrance Dicks did an equally good job translating it into prose form for the Target novel. Richard Franklin did well reading it. It’s a shame he might not be appearing at conventions anymore. The ‘Behind the Sofa’ episodes are still well made. I thought it was cute when Sarah made a cat noise when explaining the title to Janet.

    Tomorrow, or today when you see this comment, I’ll share my thoughts on ‘The English Way of Death’.

    Take care, WF92.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi WF92,

      Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘The Claws of Axos’, both the TV story and the Target novelization/audiobook.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the story as well as the characters like the Doctor, Jo, the Brigadier, Benton, Yates, the Master, Filer and Chinn. I look forward to your thoughts on ‘The Daemons’ next. I hope you’ll enjoy my thoughts on the TV story as well as the Target novelization/audiobook.

      Yeah, it does seem a shame Richard Franklin might not be attending anymore conventions. He is getting on mind. I’ve enjoyed meeting him and I’m very lucky to have met him at conventions as well as Katy Manning and John Levene from the Third Doctor era.

      I’m pleased you’re enjoying the ‘Behind the Sofa’ items so far on Season 8. It was funny when Sarah made a cat noise to Janet. As well as showing her claws. 😀

      Looking forward to your thoughts on ‘The English Way of Death’.

      Many thanks for your comments.

      Tim 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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