‘The Time Monster’ (TV)

‘THE TIME MONSTER’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

Come Kronos, Come

Greek legends come to life in ‘Doctor Who’!

The ‘Myths and Legends’ DVD box set is what I had for my birthday in May 2010. I loved this DVD box set when I had it. They contain three intriguing ‘Doctor Who’ tales with an influence of Greek myths and legends all the way throughout. They’re also some of the most imaginative of adventures.

I know that this DVD box set of ‘Doctor Who’ stories won’t agree with everyone. The production values vary in all three tales. But for me, these stories helped me with inspiration to write my ‘Doctor Who’ stories, including ‘The Salvador Trilogy’ from ‘The Fifth Doctor by Tim Bradley’ series.

The three stories in the ‘Myths and Legends’ DVD box set are as follows. There’s ‘The Time Monster’ with Jon Pertwee’s Doctor and there’s ‘Underworld’ and ‘The Horns of Nimon’ with Tom Baker’s Doctor. Each these three stories are unique in style and taste, despite some of the flaws they have.

The first ‘Myths and Legends’ story, ‘The Time Monster’, is a six-part adventure by Robert Sloman and producer Barry Letts. It features the Third Doctor, Jo and U.N.I.T. with the return of the Master.

This is the season finale to Season 9 of ‘Doctor Who’. It features the Master’s return after he previously appeared in ‘The Sea Devils’. The Master causes trouble as he uses the power of Kronos.

In ‘The Time Monster’, the Doctor has a nightmare about the Master and seeing a powerful crystal. This leads our main heroes to find the Master at the Newton Institute in Wootton, just outside of Cambridge.

The Master assumes the alias of Professor Thascales when he and his colleagues do work on time experiments using the TOMTIT device. But it goes haywire when the mighty Kronos turns up in glory.

There is undeniably a Greek influence featured in this story, concerning Kronos and the Great Crystal. It gets enhanced when the Doctor and Jo visit Atlantis where some of the action takes place.

There’s also an influence of Buddhism featured in this story on the part of producer Barry Letts. This is indicated in ‘Part Six’ when the Doctor relates a story to Jo about meeting a hermit on a mountain.

These are mixed in with a lot of scientific stuff that is pretty complex, especially concerning time. Most of the time and science is dealt with in ‘Parts One to Four’ whilst Atlantis is in ‘Parts Five to Six’.

Jon Pertwee is superb as the Doctor in this adventure. I like his interaction with Jo in this story and I like how he handles matters when confronting the Master and stopping his plans to unleash Kronos.

Katy Manning is equally wonderful as Jo Grant. I like her determination to stick to the Doctor, especially when they go to Atlantis. Jo makes a daring sacrifice between the Doctor and the Master.

Nicholas Courtney is great as the Brigadier, but I think he’s a little impatient in this. After all they’ve been through, he’s still sceptical about odd things and baffled by some of the Doctor’s explanations.

Roger Delgado is terrific as the Master in this adventure. His evil persona matches well with his charm and wit. The Master is convinced he can control Kronos when the Great Crystal is in his hands.

Richard Franklin is pretty good as Captain Mike Yates in this story. Mike and his U.N.I.T troops get caught up in the Master’s time attacks, e.g. a knight on horseback; Roundheads and a WWII bomber.

John Levene gets to have an active role in this story as Sgt. Benton. I liked it when Benton gets to come up behind the Master and Percival, after he sees through the trick laid on him to leave the lab.

The monster Kronos is a bird-like flapping, feathered creature that appears out of the crystal. Kronos can be unconvincing at times, even though he swallows people up and he destroys Atlantis instantly.

The guest cast includes Wanda Moore as Dr. Ruth Ingram and Ian Collier as Stuart Hyde, the two scientists on the TOMTIT project. Ian Collier would later play Omega in the TV story, ‘Arc of Infinity’.

There’s John Wyse as Dr. Percival, who becomes the Master’s assistant for a short time. And there’s Donald Eccles (who I’ve seen in a BBC version of ‘Emma’) as Krasis, High Priest of Kronos in Atlantis.

There’s also George Cormack as King Dalios of Atlantis. With him, there’s Ingrid Pitt (who would later guest star in ‘Warriors of the Deep’) as Queen Gallelia, who takes a shine to the Master in this story.

There’s Aidan Murphy as Hippias and Susan Penhaligon (who would star in the Big Finish audio, ‘Primeval’) as Lakis. There’s also Dave Prowse (Darth Vadar from ‘Star Wars’) as the Minotaur.

The DVD special features are as follows. There’s the ‘Between Now…and Now’ documentary, looking at the science of ‘The Time Monster’ with behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews. There’s also a ‘Restoration Comparison’ which looks into the ‘before and after’ picture restoration of the TV story. There’s a photo gallery of the story and there’s a commentary with John Levene; Susan Penhaligon; producer Barry Letts and production assistant Marion McDougall, with writers Graham Duff; Phil Ford; Joseph Lidster and James Moran, moderated by Toby Hadoke. There’s an info-text commentary option to enjoy and PDF materials including a ‘Radio Times Listings’ of the story. There’s a ‘coming soon’ trailer for ‘The Creature From The Pit’ with Tom Baker, Lalla Ward and K-9.

‘The Time Monster’ is an imaginative tale from the Jon Pertwee era of ‘Doctor Who’. It may not be considered the best by many fans, but it is very colourful and I did enjoy watching the story on DVD.

‘The Time Monster’ rating – 7/10


‘DOCTOR WHO – THE TIME MONSTER’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

The Search For The Crystal of Kronos Begins

This has been a satisfying and enjoyable Target novelization of the ‘The Time Monster’!

In late 2018, I’ve been reading/listening to a number of Target novelization/audiobooks of ‘Doctor Who’ featuring Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor. They were on ‘The Curse of Peladon’ and ‘The Sea Devils’. The two were enjoyable in novelization form, but I was disappointed with the changes made.

The novelization/audiobooks for those two Jon Pertwee stories were unsatisfying and unfulfilling as the endings seemed to be rushed; certain moments that I enjoyed from the TV versions of the story were omitted and sometimes Jo Grant was written out of character. Would things get better in this?

Thankfully they did, as I enjoyed reading the Target novelization of ‘Doctor Who – The Time Monster’ by Terrance Dicks. And yes! Terrance Dicks is the reason why this ‘Doctor Who’ Target novelization made me happy. Here he writes a faithful Target novelization of the Season 9 TV finale.

‘The Time Monster’ was originally a six-part adventure by Robert Sloman and producer Barry Letts. Terrance Dicks has mostly stuck to what was in the original TV story and whilst the four, fifth and sixth episodes are condensed somewhat in the last six chapters, nothing felt at all lost in the reading.

The book is divided into 15 chapters. Quite surprising Terrance Dicks didn’t go for the approach of making this an 18 chapter book for ‘The Time Monster’ to make the equivalent of three chapters for each episode in the six-parter. Mind you, ‘Episode Four’ of the tale seemed to have a lot of padding.

This is especially when the Doctor and Jo were following the Master and Krasis in the TARDIS and soon the two TARDISes got locked in a Time Ram. There’s still the arguing between the Doctor and the Master and the scene where the Doctor speaks English backwards is kept for the Target novelization.

But it doesn’t feel the need to be stretched out and in a sense that is what the writing style of Terrance Dicks is in the book. The chapters themselves aren’t necessarily long, but they’re kept to a certain amount of length that’s easy for children to enjoy when they read these Target novelizations.

‘The Time Monster’ book itself was published in 1986, 14 years after the original TV story was transmitted in 1972. Wow! It took Target this long to get ‘The Time Monster’ novelized into book form whereas other Jon Pertwee stories were novelized in the 1970s. What took them so long here?

In terms of the changes made to the story in the Target novelization from the TV story, well there’s not really much to go on. Like I said, Terrance Dicks keeps true to what was in the original TV scripts by Robert Sloman and Barry Letts. Mind you, there is quite a small amount of alterations made here.

For example, in the book, the Master speculates how Rassilon used the time-scoop on Gallifrey when he’s using the TOMTIT device to summon up soldiers from the past to attack Mike Yates and the U.N.I.T. convoy delivering the TARDIS to the Newton Institute. This was so intriguing to discover.

It wasn’t long after Terrance wrote ‘The Five Doctors’ for TV in 1983. So to include a reference to the TV story in a novelization about a Jon Pertwee story made before that is quite ironic. I guess Terrance’s entitled to make liberties when novelizing the Target novelization for ‘The Time Monster’.

The Master also speculates how he got on well with Dr. Percival’s predecessor before he had him killed and used Percival as his assistant. Which makes me wonder: why did the Master kill Percival’s predecessor if he got on so well with him. Did Percival’s predecessor break the Master’s hypnotism?

Apparently there were a few minor spelling changes made to some of the characters in the story. For example, the Master’s alias of Thascales becomes Thascalos in the novelization. Percival becomes Perceval and Miseus becomes Mysesus. Of course these are spelling changes I didn’t notice honestly.

Also when we’re introduced to the Master in the Target novelization, he’s not revealed to be him in the first chapter as he’s mostly referred to as Thascalos for most of the time. It’s only when he hypnotises Perceval that he’s revealed to be the Master. For the rest of the book, he’s called the Master.

This was a nice build-up in revealing Thascalos was actually the Master in the book compared to the TV story. It’s only in the first chapter, but it works in the Target novelization. I’m surprised they didn’t utilise this trick in the TV version of the story. Terrance clearly saw the trick being missed here.

During the ‘Episode Two’ cliff-hanger part of the book where Krasis appears to the Master and Perceval in the TOMTIT laboratory, the sequence where he disappears from the temple is omitted. This was the same in ‘Episode Three’ of the TV story, but how come this scene was not shown here?

I suppose it was a scene that was probably not needed in the TV story and it was clearly realised by the time we get to ‘Episode Three’. Maybe the scene was included to make-up for a half an hour episode length. Perhaps Terrance Dicks didn’t like the scene and he saw it unworthy to be included.

In the ‘Episode Six’ part of the book, when Lakis enters the King’s Chamber to deliver the message about Jo in trouble with the Minotaur, she’s not dragged out by guards as seen in the TV version. I prefer that in the Target novelization, considering it isn’t the King who’s ignoring her in that scene.

In fact, in the TV version, why didn’t King Dalios stop the guards taking Lakis out when she entered the chamber with the Doctor inside? Dalios clearly wanted to know what was troubling Lakis and the guards were determined to take her out. Dalios should’ve given a royal command to his guards here.

The Brigadier seeming irritable and impatient during the ‘Episode Three’ segment of the story sort of makes sense in the Target novelization. Just sort of. It’s after the Brigadier’s taken out of a time field when chasing after Dr. Ruth Ingram that he becomes irritable and impatient with the Doctor in this.

It might also explain why the Brigadier seems sceptical about Mike Yates and his men fighting medieval knights and Roundheads on the way to the Newton Institute. Perhaps being in the time field did something to his mind as the Brigadier wouldn’t be sceptical about alien things in the series.

There’s also an alteration where the Brigadiers addresses Yates as ‘Mike’ after the V1 bomb exploded at the end of the ‘Episode Three’ segment of the story. This does not happen in the book. I wonder why Terrance didn’t have the Brig shout for ‘Mike’ in that scene. It was a poignant moment!

It demonstrated how the Brigadier cares about his U.N.I.T. men and to have him call Yates ‘Mike’ instead of ‘Yates’ in that ‘Episode Three’ cliffhanger moment is very touching. I think Terrance should have kept that moment in the Target novelization of the story instead of have it omitted altogether.

The scene descriptions and set ups in the Target novelization of ‘The Time Monster’ are very well done by Terrance Dicks as he’s done it so remarkably well for his other ‘Doctor Who’ Target novelizations. He also does well writing for the characters in the Third Doctor era, knowing them so well.

The climactic scenes of Kronos destroying Atlantis are pretty effective in the book, as the Master is unable to control the monster when he grows bigger and becomes powerful than ever. Even Galleia freeing the Doctor in order to chase after the Master in his TARDIS with Jo was effective in the book.

The book ends with everything back to normal. The Brigadier and his U.N.I.T. men are free from the time trap they’re in; the TOMTIT device gets destroyed after Ruth and Stuart Hyde use it and Benton is restored to being an adult whilst he’s stark-naked. Nobody laughs at Benton’s nakedness though.

I would like to read ‘The Time Monster’ again when the audiobook comes out. I don’t know who would read the audiobook, but I guess it could be either Katy Manning; Richard Franklin or John Levene. I hope I’ll get to discover more things about the Target novelization when reading/hearing it.

‘Doctor Who – The Time Monster’ is a satisfying Target novelization by Terrance Dicks. I enjoyed reading it from beginning to end and found it better than ‘The Curse of Peladon’ and ‘The Sea Devils’ novelizations/audiobooks. Terrance Dicks has remained so true and faithful to the original TV scripts.

The book also allows you to not be distracted by any dodgy visual effects that were in the TV story. Kronos can be intimidating, threatening and powerful when the Master summons him from the Great Crystal. You can also get to engage with characters like the Third Doctor, Jo and U.N.I.T. in this.

‘Doctor Who – The Time Monster’ rating – 9/10


The previous story

For the Third Doctor was

  • ‘The Scream of Ghosts’ (Audio)

For Jo was

  • ‘The Scream of Ghosts’ (Audio)

For the Brigadier was

  • ‘The Scream of Ghosts’ (Audio)

For Mike Yates was

  • ‘Rags’ (Book)

For Benton was

  • ‘The Scream of Ghosts’ (Audio)
The next story

For the Third Doctor is

  • ‘Find and Replace’ (Audio)

For Jo is

  • ‘Find and Replace’ (Audio)

For the Brigadier is

  • ‘Find and Replace’ (Audio)

For Mike Yates is

  • ‘The Christmas Inversion’ (Penguin/Audio)

For Benton is

  • ‘Find and Replace’ (Audio)
Return to The Third Doctor’s Timeline
Return to Jo’s Timeline
Return to The Brigadier’s Timeline
Return to Mike Yates’ Timeline
Return to Benton’s Timeline
Return to The Doctors’ Timelines Index
Return to The Companions’ Timelines Index
Return to Doctor Who Timelines
Return to Doctor Who
Return to Sci-Fi

4 thoughts on “‘The Time Monster’ (TV)

  1. A fair balanced assessment on this 6 parter Tim, i felt the ambition is in this story but lacks the budget to do it justice, it needed some location filming for Atlantis not be confined to the studio the budget restrictions let it down somewhat but it’s still a entertaining watch nevertheless.

    A excellent informative review Tim.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Simon.

      Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘The Time Monster’.

      Yes this story needed a bigger budget to do it justice. This is sometimes the problem with classic series stories as finales in ‘Doctor Who’. The production team spends a lot early on in a season before they run out towards the end.

      I enjoyed the imaginativeness of this adventure and I enjoyed how the Doctor and Jo carried the story forward. I especially found them the highlight whilst re-watching the story for this review.

      Tim. 🙂

      Like

  2. Great review on the Target novel Tim, it looks well this gets a brilliant adaption with stronger story arc & narrative but Curse Of Peledon & Sea Devils don’t.

    There’s more depth to the story than seen in the transmitted episodes & i easily pictured Atlantis differently than what was shown on tv & Kronos feels more of a threat in the novel.

    I like that in the novel the Brig is more caring & you feel his respect for Yates & Benton it adds warmth to the character.

    Just a few tweaks here & there make the novel all the better in storytelling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Simon.

      Glad you enjoyed my review on the Target novelization for ‘The Time Monster’.

      I really pleased this one was faithful to the original TV scripts, thanks to Terrance Dicks’ writing when he novelized the story. It’s a shame ‘The Curse of Peladon’ and ‘The Sea Devils’ novelizations don’t seem to have that same quality of being faithful to the original TV scripts with their endings being abrupt and many scenes omitted or truncated.

      Interesting how you saw Altantis pictured differently in the novelization as well as finding Kronos more of a threat in the novelization. It’ll be interesting to see how this novelization will be given an audiobook reading someday.

      Yeah I suppose the book does at least have the Brig showing care and respect for Mike Yates and Benton as he did in the TV version. I just think the Brig calling Yates ‘Mike’ at the end of the ‘Episode Three’ section should have been kept in from the TV story into the book.

      Overall, ‘The Time Monster’ novelization is very good and it’s thanks to Terrance Dicks for that.

      Many thanks for your comments, Simon.

      Tim. 🙂

      Like

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