Retro Visit to me half a lifetime ago (Give or Take!)

A trip down memory lane to kick off this fledgling blog.

I will go into the never-ending, always-fascinating (and these days mainstream!!) world of Doctor Who.

A review of a ‘Classic Who’ story from the Jon Pertwee period of DW. The story was recently re-released on DVD so I feel this is a good time for me to re-review it. That will come later in the week, but first here is my original review from the late 1990s.

Pertwee at his best, but not UNIT, Jo or the Master

The Claws of Axos is one of the stories that rarely bores but has little claim to being a major or noteworthy Pertwee tale — it is simply representative of the era in which it was made.

Both Chinn and Filer cannot escape being embarrassing in some form or another although at the same time they are sort of amusing to watch. The scene where the two Filers fight is that character’s most exciting moment, after which he becomes pretty useless.

If there is one aspect of the story that simply is unbearable it must be that filthy, unloved tramp — Pigbin Josh. He simply is one of the worst ‘characters’ in the show ever.

At the other end of the scale, Pertwee is great here, as he is still not playing the totally dependable Time Lord of his later years. And when he feigns betrayal he is at his best. UNIT is also fine here although they are not really shown to their full potential. The action scenes in parts three and four are passable enough, and the accompanying music is suitably exciting.

The Axons are a rather odd bunch with loads of different shapes and sizes but the idea of them being a whole entity is a clever concept of the writers. Bernard Holley as the Axon Man gives an impressive performance and speaks in a voice which hides any trace of evil and is more akin to a god. Sadly the other ‘representative’ of Axos, the Axos Eye, is very unconvincing and is even accompanied with some cosy hummable tune at the start of one scene.

As for Katy Manning as Jo Grant, well after her impressive performances in her first two stories she slips rather noticeably into the role of a much more common screamer, darting around in suede boots and an attention-grabbing mini-skirt. At least she is not quite at her worst in this story.

It has been mentioned that the Master managed to save this story — and others — from obscurity, although I believe he merely enhances an already tightly-packed plot. The Master here is neither quite as cold-blooded nor coolly relaxed as previously and thus comes over as far more cartoonish. The skill of Delgado is still high enough to make him a joy to watch in any case.

Overall The Claws of Axos is worth watching and is a fun enough diversion. But it has little to make it stand out, especially in a season which features both The Mind of Evil and The Daemons6.5/10

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