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I had the ‘Doctor Who’ DVD box set, ‘Mara Tales’ for my birthday in May 2011!
‘Mara Tales’ contains two stories from the Peter Davison era of ‘Doctor Who’ called ‘Kinda’ and ‘Snakedance’. They feature the evil snake-like Mara and focus heavily on Janet Fielding as Tegan.
I told Sarah Sutton (Nyssa) at the ‘Regenerations 2010’ convention in Swansea, September 2010 that I was looking forward to this DVD box set. I found ‘Snakedance’ better than ‘Kinda’. Both of these stories are by Christopher Bailey, a Buddhist enthusiast who puts his extraordinary writing talents to ‘Doctor Who’.
I’ve had the DVD cover of ‘Kinda’ signed by Peter Davison at the ‘Regenerations 2016’ convention in Swansea, September 2016 and the lovely Sarah Sutton at the ‘Fantom Films at Memorabilia 2016’ event in March 2016. I told Sarah that I liked her as Nyssa in both this story and in ‘Snakedance’.
Are you ready to face your nightmares and face the dark places of the inside?!
The first Mara tale is ‘Kinda’ and is set during Peter Davison’s first season as the Doctor.
Sarah Sutton as Nyssa doesn’t appear in this story much. If you want to know why Nyssa fainted at the end of ‘Four to Doomsday’, the answer is in ‘Primeval’, a superb Big Finish audio with Nyssa in it.
Nyssa gets stuck in the TARDIS for most of the time ‘Kinda’. The scenes with Nyssa at the beginning and end of the story are my favourites. I wish that Nyssa was in ‘Kinda’ as I miss seeing her from this.
I found this four-part story by Christopher Bailey unusual and strange. It’s not terrible, but it was unnerving and surreal. It feels like the movie ‘Avatar’ by James Cameron, which I was blown away by.
The TARDIS arrives on the jungle planet Deva Loka, home to the primitive but peaceful Kinda. Without Nyssa joining them, the Doctor, Tegan and Adric explore and discover a survey dome on the planet.
By accident, Tegan falls asleep in the jungle and has terrible dark dreams. Tegan gets infected and possessed by the Mara, which goes free and is causing havoc. Can the Doctor stop the Mara in time?
Peter Davison’s Doctor is pretty good. Although Chris Bailey wrote for Tom Baker, Peter comes out top trumps! He’s very intrigued by what’s going on and shares an interesting relationship with Todd.
Janet Fielding is great as Tegan, who falls asleep; has harrowing dreams and has the Mara inside of her. Janet gives a really seductive; sexy performance as the Mara-possessed Tegan and looks so evil.
Matthew Waterhouse gets a fair share of the action as Adric. I like how he interacts with Hindle who goes mad in the story and how he shares an interesting bond with Sanders who warms to Adric here.
The story guest stars Richard Todd as Sanders, Simon Rouse as Hindle and Nerys Hughes as Todd. There’s also Mary Morris as Panna; Sarah Prince as Karuna and Adrian Mills (who I’ve met) as Aris.
The Mara becomes a giant snake in the story. What can I say about the actual snake? Well…yes, it looks fake and pathetic! I couldn’t help laugh when I saw it as it should have been better than it was.
The makers of this DVD have done a brand new CGI version of the Mara snake. It looks very impressive and terrifying. You can watch the story with the ‘CGI effects’ option on to see the snake.
The DVD special features are as follows. There’s a making-of documentary called ‘Dream Time’ with cast and crew interviews; a documentary called ‘Peter Grimwade – Directing With Attitude’; extended and deleted scenes; a CGI effects option and a CGI effects comparison of the Mara snake.
There are also trailers and continuity announcements of the story; a photo gallery of the story; a commentary with Peter Davison; Janet Fielding; Matthew Waterhouse and Nerys Hughes and an isolated music option by Peter Howell. There’s an info-text commentary option to enjoy as well as a ‘Radio Times Listing’ PDF of the story.
There’s also a ‘coming soon’ trailer for the ‘Revisitations 2’ DVD box set. It contains ‘The Seeds of Death’ with Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury; ‘Carnival of Monsters’ with Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning and ‘Resurrection of the Daleks’ with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson.
‘Kinda’ is an extraordinary and unusual story, but it is ‘kinda’ interesting. Although I don’t understand what’s going on in the story, the themes of dreams and possession featured are strong throughout.
Nyssa is better and fully recovered by the end of the story.
For extra thoughts on Nyssa’s appearance in ‘Kinda’ by me, please see Would ‘Kinda’ work with Nyssa in it?
‘Kinda’ rating – 7/10
‘DOCTOR WHO – KINDA’
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Mara Tale in Book – The Kinda
I enjoyed reading this book – ‘Doctor Who – Kinda’!
This is a novelization of the original TV story ‘Kinda’ by Christopher Bailey. But it’s not Chris Bailey who has written this novelization. It is by Terrance Dicks who provides novelization duties on this remarkable surreal story. Terrance has done a remarkable job tackling such an unusual story as this.
After seeing ‘Kinda’ in the ‘Mara Tales’ DVD box set on my birthday in May, 2011, I was keen to discover more about this remarkable story. I didn’t understand much of it and it’s not a favourite of mine. But reading the book by Terrance Dicks has enabled me to get a clear depiction of this story.
The book was published in 1983; a year after the TV story was shown in 1982. It’s divided into 12 chapters with 3 chapters making one of the four episodes – 3 chapters; times 4 equals 12 chapters.
I wondered how Terrance Dicks would novelize this story from Christopher Bailey’s original TV scripts. Terrance hasn’t really changed much of the original plot. Despite minor changes to some of the dialogue, he’s managed to novelize the story matching exactly as it appeared on the TV screen.
I’m not sure how much Terrance understood ‘Kinda’ from the original TV scripts (probably not much as the case maybe). But Terrance has done a wonderful job in describing the surreal imagery featured in the story, especially with the dream sequences that I found baffling when I saw them.
Also, what Terrance doesn’t do with changing dialogue, he makes up for it with describing the scenes with incredible detail throughout. I’m amazed by how Terrance is able to delve into the world of Deva Loka with describing the places and environments such as the survey dome and the jungles.
Terrance also homes in on the characters that are featured in the story with likes of Sanders and Hindle. He delves into Hindle’s madness with gripping detail. He also transcends Sander’s character beautifully from a gruff, belligerent army officer to the gentle, child-like man he becomes at the end.
One thing I’ve noticed is about Nyssa’s absence from the story. It’s never explained why Nyssa has to stay in the TARDIS and no reference made to the previous story. This is because Nyssa didn’t faint in the novelization of ‘Four to Doomsday’ by Terrance Dicks to help explain the reason for her absence.
Another thing that disappointed me was that there were deleted scenes featured on the ‘Kinda’ DVD from the Mara Tales box set that weren’t featured in the novelization. I found this rather odd as I thought they were in the original script and I wondered why Terrance didn’t add them in the book.
The depiction of the Mara in the book is just as frightening as to how it was depicted in the TV story. The Mara’s delight in the pain and suffering of others shines throughout. Terrance has clearly stressed on this story’s aspect by delving into more of the snake-like force wanting to cause havoc.
Tegan’s dream sequences are pretty effective in the book. Reading those scenes made me feel for Tegan, who was tormented and resisting the Mara’s temptations. I wondered there wasn’t a reference made to Adric and Nyssa as the old man and woman who played chess in Tegan’s dreams.
I was slightly disappointed by how the box of Jhana was depicted. It’s not clearly illustrated that the Doctor, Todd and Sanders are overcome by a bright light when they open the box. Instead they are hearing music before they ‘see the world through the Kinda’s eyes’ according to this novelization.
I liked how Adric is portrayed by Terrance Dicks who he’s written for before in a previous TV story and some Target novelizations. Terrance touches upon Adric’s fear of Hindle when he goes through his madness; being unstable and about to set off the Master Detonator to destroy the survey dome.
Terrance Dicks has written for the Fifth Doctor before in a previous Target novelization of ‘Four To Doomsday’. Terrance superbly describes the Doctor’s youthfulness, energy and impeccable curiosity as well as portraying the scientific friendship between the Doctor and Todd that was in the TV story.
I’m not sure whether there’ll be an audiobook for ‘Kinda’ someday. I’m sure there will be and I have a few ideas on who might read the reader. It could be Peter Davison, Janet Fielding or Matthew Waterhouse. Christopher Bailey might even do a new version of the novelisation himself for audio.
I’ve enjoyed reading ‘Doctor Who – Kinda’ by Terrance Dicks. It’s not the best Target novelization that I’ve read, but it’s a fine addition to this unique surreal story about dreams and the Mara. Terrance has novelized this story well and reading it has made me feel like I’m watching the TV story again!
It’s time to read Terrance Dicks’ novelization of ‘Doctor Who – Snakedance’ next!
‘Doctor Who – Kinda’ rating – 7/10
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