‘Quarks! Search and destroy!’ Toba
10th August – 7th September 1968
The Time Space Visualiser
So the much maligned Dominators kicks off season six with Zoe happily settled in the TARDIS. This story is always a struggle to get through and after such a great season previously with many missing episodes it is hard to find much to like in this one.
First you have the Dulcians. What a bunch of badly acted poorly realised pathetic humanoids they are. From early on I am hoping the Dominators put paid to the lot of them. ‘That is typical Dulcian behaviour’ says Cully in episode two. First sign of trouble and you wrap yourselves in a pair of curtains! ‘Universal gentleness will cause aggression to die.’ Who cares anymore?
‘Will it take long to reach the capital?’ Asks Zoe (with her photographic memory) to Culley In the capsule. Well seeing as I have just told you this thing can travel anywhere in under eight minutes, what do you think?
I want a Quark! Cute squeaky voices and spiky heads. Their arms are excellent too. Apart from their destructive power they are next to useless for the Dominators. They forever need recharging, they cannot clear the sites they destroy nor carry equipment such as the drill. And just how many of them are there? They keep getting destroyed but there always seem to be three left. ‘Quarks. Form a flank!’ Quite a cool killing effect though when that really annoying girl gets melted.
Just what is it that the Dominators want to do? The clue is supposedly in the title. But apart from being bossy they do not actually do much dominating.
Jamie gets to throw rocks at the Quarks but Cully has a massive rock which squashes the Quark. Sarah Jane could learn something about rock throwing from this scene. I love it when Zoe gets all technical. It does seem a bit forced in these enlightened days but having a brainy woman to accompany the Doctor rarely happened in the classic series.
Brian Cant is back! Ronald Allen is the only other actor worth mentioning. The Dominators are possibly the worst villains in the history of Doctor Who. They spend the whole time arguing and sending off the Quarks to kill everyone. Allen is marvelous. Menacing and simmering as all villains should be. The sonic screw driver is back. It’s more than just a simple screw driver!
Apparently this story was going to be six episodes but it was felt there was not enough plot to sustain it. I am not sure they cut it down far enough. There is always something to enjoy in a Doctor Who story. It is a shame that in this case it is the closing titles of episode 5!
‘Should I destroy them? No! It would be a waste of energy.’ We have just invented a test with a power charge that has established absolutely nothing and there is a gun that we have fired at a wall that would probably kill them very quickly but we’ll keep them alive. Then when we capture that next lot we will use a brain scan. After discovering they are brainy but have little muscle development we will put them to work in the mines. What?
Rocks are moved. The Dominators want only the most intelligent specimens and then use them to move rocks. Until they are exhausted. Would it not have been better to pick the youngest and strongest?
The Dominators speak in clichés and the relationship between the two, one reasonable, thankfully the one in charge. and the other impetuous and aggressive, is a Doctor Who staple. Of course the aggressive one will want to report his leader to a higher power!
A lot of running around in a quarry. In fact there seems to be little else for most of these episodes.
Dynasty producers watched a rerun of this story whilst designing Crystals outfit for the scene where she meets Mark playing tennis at La Mirage. By a strange coincidence, the teams designing the Thames Barrier also were big fans of the story.
Insert the Device
‘I will insert the seed device.’ Says Rago towards the end of the story. It is an egg shaped bomb I think. Anyway, the Doctor catches it and defuses it and we all live happily ever after.
Catchphrase Error of the Week
‘Oh my Word!’
So says the Doctor at the end of episode one. Everyone knows it’s, ‘Oh my giddy aunt!’
The 500 Year Diary
18th September 2068 am
All that mental projection is very wearing! Anyway we’ve landed on Dulkis – a very nice peaceful planet – time for a holiday! Out comes the deckchair!
Well the peace didn’t last long as we hear an explosion. We come across a random old war museum with live guns. We come across a survey team led by Balan and thankfully we’re not contaminated with radioactivity. Mysteriously, the radiation just disappeared after 172 years.
Then this Cully arrives telling us about these hostile aliens. The TARDIS is under threat. Jamie and I go and investigate, but we’re surrounded by the Dominators and their robot Quarks!
18th September 2068 am
These Dominators aren’t particularly clever as manage to fool them into thinking that Jamie and I are not very clever by failing their intelligence tests. They then let us go as we’re no threat – although obviously we are – even stupid people can cause a lot of damage.
Off to the capital in a travel capsule to talk to the Dulcian council to try and get some action against the Dominators.
18th September 2068 pm
They’re a pathetic lot those Dulcians – they don’t want to do anything!
On a scanner, we see that Zoe is in danger so we rush back to the island, altering the travel capsule so as to avoid the Dominators. Jamie and I split up, but alas I get caught again. On the plus side, found some Jelly Babies. I rather like them!
18th September 2068 pm
These Dominators are really not very clever and they seem to spend a lot of time bickering. The lower one, Toba, seems to be spot on – destroy the locals, get on with it – whereas Ropa seems to make really bad decisions.
Toba makes a bad decision by leaving Zoe and I alone to explore the ship. We find out that the ship has absorbed the radiation. When he comes back, he’s in a really bad mood because one of the Quarks has been destroyed. They kill Balan and next it’s me!
18th September 2068 eve
Phew! Ropa came back just in time to save me. They have another little argument and then take us to a drill site.
Jamie manages to confuse a Quark and we escape to a bunker where explain that the Dominators want to turn the planet into radioactive magma. The only way to stop them is to tunnel through the wall to the bore hole and catch the seed device. Get to use my sonic screwdriver again!
The earth in Dulkis is happily very loose so we dig a 12 foot tunnel very quickly just in time to catch the seed device. However, I can’t diffuse it so I run quickly back to the Dominators’ ship and put it on there before they take off. I wonder if Ropa realises what an idiot he was just before he dies. Another thought. What’s to stop the rest of the fleet and just destroying the planet?
Anyway, haven’t got time to worry about that as there’s a volcano erupting!
Artwork: BBC DVD Cover: The Dominators
The Five Word Lords
What a load of twaddle.