Doctor Who Twitch Watch: recommendations of the day 07/03

The Doctor lands in the middle of an interplanetary war in The Armageddon Factor.
(Photo credit: Doctor Who/BBC.
Image obtained from: BBC.)

The Fourth Doctor and Romana finally complete the Key to Time, meet the Daleks once more, and find seven Mona Lisas in Paris in today’s Doctor Who stories on Twitch!

It’s another day of endings and beginnings with Doctor Who on Twitch today. Not only do we reach the end of The Key to Time, but we also see Mary Tamm’s last story as Romana.

However, we don’t say goodbye to the character as a whole. As Season Seventeen begins, we meet her next incarnation, as portrayed by Lalla Ward. We also encounter both the Daleks and Davros again, and see the Doctor in a very strange adventure in Paris. But which story today do we recommend the most?

The Armageddon Factor

The final story in The Key to Time season arc, The Armageddon Factor is in some ways a disappointing end to the overall story. Like The Invasion of Time, it has quite large ambitions, particularly with the focus on a large-scale interplanetary war.

But also like The Invasion of Time, however, at six episodes, there are clear instances when it simply drags.

Having said that, there are definitely interesting ideas throughout. The Black Guardian’s presence is, unsurprisingly, felt the most in this story. Paritcularly with one of his agents, the Shadow.

We also get a clear idea of how the Key to Time works before it’s completely assembled at the end. And Princess Astra, played by Lalla Ward, definitely has an interesting character arc.

The name of the Doctor…?

We’re also introduced to another Time Lord: Drax. Someone who knew the Doctor back in their days at Prydon Academy, Drax is an interesting character, and not just because of his cockney accent. He’s a Time Lord who isn’t out to either save or rule the universe. He’s mainly just trying to look after himself.

There’s also a moment where he clearly says the Doctor’s “name”. Or what was clearly intended to be his name, before “Theta Sigma” was much later retconned to be just a nickname the Doctor once had.

And here’s the thing: it’s revealed far too casually, and even Steven Moffat has commented that the “reveal” was done far too easily for something as big as the Doctor’s name.

This is really the story’s biggest fault. The Armaggedon Factor‘s full of great ideas. But it doesn’t really know how to use them in a truly effective way. There are also quite a few unresolved threads from the season by the time that it finishes. Overall, a disappointing finale to a pretty decent story arc.

Davros returns while the Daleks are fighting a new war in Destiny of the Daleks.
(Photo credit: Doctor Who/BBC.
Image obtained from: BBC.)

Destiny of the Doctor

We begin Douglas Adams’s reign as script-editor today with Destiny of the Daleks. A story that, quite frankly, has the most bizarre regeneration scene ever. Specifically, Romana getting bored of how she looked and wanting to try on a new body.

More than that: she’s especially keen to look like Princess Astra, hence why she’s played by the same actress.

If you’re used to the more dramatic regenerations of the New Series, that’s quite a scene to get used to. Still, it’s not long before Lalla Ward becomes as great to watch as Mary Tamm was as Romana, and Ward and Tom Baker clearly have great chemistry.

(It’s perhaps unsurprising to know that they were in a relationship and later married the same year.)

As for the story itself, Destiny of the Daleks is an interesting Dalek story by Terry Nation. Once again, Davros returns, but this is a very different story from Genesis. Moving away from the dark and gritty elements of the previous Dalek serial, we’re instead introduced to a new race the Daleks are at war with: the Movellans.

Honestly, if there’s one alien race that’s dated a lot, it’s definitely the Movellans. They look very, shall we say, “disco”. It’s a look that’s very easy to detract from a decent story.

We also have a new actor playing Davros, David Gooderson. Honestly, it’s just not as strong a performance as Michael Wisher’s, and it’s easy to notice that.

Despite all of this, Destiny of the Daleks is an interesting story to watch. It’s hardly their greatest story, but it is entertaining, at least.

The Doctor investigates a strange mystery of seven Mona Lisas in City of Death.
(Photo credit: Doctor Who/BBC.
Image obtained from: BBC.)

City of Death

And now we come to a real classic. City of Death is a story that you’ll see on many top ten lists, for very good reasons. Filled with many brilliant ideas and hilarious to watch, while “David Agnew” might be the writer credited to the story, it’s clearly Douglas Adams who wrote this.

There’s a really strong cast, with Julian Glover being particularly brilliant as the villainous Count Scarlioni. He’s exactly the kind of character that would work equally well as a James Bond villain: charming, intelligent, and utterly ruthless.

Duggan is equally brilliant. A private investigator who punches first and then forgets to ask any questions, his bluntness is hysterical to watch. Particularly when compared to the sheer intelligence of Romana and…well, ok, there are times when the Doctor hides it in this one, underneath all his silliness. But it’s still quite a contrast.

The script is wonderfully clever and with epic stakes. And the production looks good enough to match it, with filming actually shot in Paris. Along with such strong performances, it all combines into making City of Death not just the best story of the season. It’s also one of Doctor Who‘s greatest serials ever.

Overall recommendation of the day: City of Death

Yeah, it was always going to be this one. How could it not be? There are other greatly loved Doctor Who stories that I’d recommend City of Death over.

So of course, in a day which has the disappointing The Armageddon Factor and the more average Destiny of the Daleks, recommending City of Death is a very easy choice to make.

Are you a fan of City of Death? Did you enjoy The Key to Time season? Which story of the arc was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.