Browse the WBW Podcast
Browse the WBW Podcast
Browse Classic Who reviews
Browse Classic Who reviews

Statler and Waldorf provide running commentary on Paw Patrol’s continued enslavement in a serial that sees the departure of two (!) companions

The Fourth Doctor, Romana and K-9 — and some brat named Adric — are still making their way through E-Space, when a wobble of some sort pulls them into a micro universe between E and N, probably somewhere around I. It turns out humanity learned nothing from its past in the far-flung future and returned to its horrible, slave-trading ways, this time dealing in time-sensitive Tharils. The slave navigator of one ship wibbled said wobble and pulled both the human vessel and the TARDIS into the spatial equivalent of no man’s land.

The lion-ish-shaped Tharils can be plugged into human spaceships to enable them for time travel, but when the navigator flies the coop the slavers are in the market for a new temporal compass, even if she’s an unsuspecting Time Lady. Good thing the micro universe was once coincidentally the Tharil domain, and how serendipitous that they might just lead Doc & Co back home.

(More pics & Vindex icons will be added soon…)

Here's what we think of C114 Warriors’ Gate

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken

3.6

Jim | @jimmythewho

3.2

Here's what we think of C114 Warriors’ Gate

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken

3.6

Jim | @jimmythewho

3.2

Here's what you think 10 Responses to “C114 Warriors’ Gate”
  1. Steven from Canada

    Finally the Tardis crew gets the F out of E! But first a trip through the VOID

    Lalla Ward is on top form in this one. Her verbal duel with the three men investigating the Tardis was incredibly satisfying. However it was not to last. Romana (and K-9’s) melancholy departure is certainly a more fitting end than what most other companions get, but it does feel tacked on.

    Adric is… well Adric: sort of useful but really is given nothing to do. The absolute apathy the Doctor and Romana show towards him certainly doesn’t help his case either.

    As for plot this story has it in spades, with a trippy tale of traders- I mean slavers. The juxtaposition of past and present (and both races of slavers) as the mystery unfolds is amazing and fits well in this psychedelic sci-fi story.

    In terms of production value this story has plenty. Sound design on the robots was fantastic. “The three gateways are one!”, chills I tell you. Sets and models are incredible in this one and with such variety. From space ship to haunted castle, they all look great.

    Overall this story earns 4.5 broken Doctor fingers out of 5.

  2. Ed Corbet

    This is Romana’s story, as much as it can be considering it feels like it wasn’t originally conceived as a Doctor Who series. If the TARDIS hadn’t turned up, everything would have happened as it did anyway. Adric does nothing; the Doctor does next to nothing and finds out he’d have been better off not even doing that.

    The special effects were basic, but conveyed their point; you could tell that the Tharils were supposed to have some sort of extra-temporal quality; they also look significantly better than the Cheetah People from 1989’s Survival.

    The supporting cast’s acting was average, but they got across the idea they had been stuck there for months, with their sense of despondency and ill-discipline. Rorvik’s final maniacal laugh was unenthusiastic, but not entirely his fault; it was out-of-tone for the piece and he shouldn’t have been made to do it.

    This serial is about inevitability (and also tries to awkwardly squeeze in randomness, which then goes nowhere), but it’s being too deep for Saturday prime-time. It tries to be clever, but nothing happens in it, and saying “Inertia is one of the story’s themes” isn’t good enough; it still has to be entertaining.

    Warriors’ Gate has a place as a piece of drama, just not here. If this concept had been used for a late-night indie Sci-fi film, it could have been a cult-classic like Dark Star, but they made it into a Doctor Who serial aimed at families, so it’s not.

    1.9

  3. Kristaps Paddock

    The second least comprehensible Classic Who story, after the ~Seventh Doctor~ story Ghost Light, I love this to bits. It’s deliberately obscure, but is also wrestling with complex ideas, and the substance is there – this story is worth re-watching to really understand what was happening. I love the zero point blank space they inhabit – green screening with no image added is a truly brilliant idea, and it really feels like they are wandering out into perilous nothingness.

    I also LOVE LOVE LOVE how the story plays with time – after all, this is happening at a point where linear time isn’t happening, and so of course events happen out of sequence – and I love how the story has time-sensitive characters. In some ways when Who starts messing around with timelines, it makes you wonder why this doesn’t happen more frequently in a story about a BEING WHO CAN TRAVEL IN TIME. This should be happening all over the place. Romana’s send-off isn’t great, it’s not bad, and I wish there were more to it, but I think Lalla Ward was happy to be done with the show by this point. And as for Adric, at least I forgot he was in this story until I just rewatched it. Four point two.

  4. Peter Zunitch

    From the comments last time, I gather most people aren’t fans of this episode. I don’t get it. It’s extremely artistic, and deep in the technobabble. Sure, it drags slightly, and Doc has less to do, but he’s so enjoyable and Romana is so perfect that it’s mostly forgivable. Bonus, Adric has little to do, and K-9 does.
    I understand some may call it a cheap copout, but I love the artistic use of the sketches for the keep. It wouldn’t work in any other setting, but in a land between universes? Sure. The comic relief duo deserve their own series, and Rhorvic is fine until, well, until he’s not.

    I understand it might be only second in abstract thought to Ghostlight, and full of Tony the Tiger look-alikes, but that’s not a reason to dislike it, it’s a reason to watch it again. So I can only conclude that Rick Mayall said it best in the Young Ones, “…the only reason you don’t understand our music is that you don’t like it!” People don’t like this one because they don’t take the time to understand it.

    Me? I think it’s a great conclusion to the E-space trilogy that sparks the imagination, and a decent reason for Romana and K-9 to leave, albeit yet another rushed sendoff. She’s grown up now and it’s time to stand on her own. Maybe not the most exciting, and don’t invite the Gundans round to dinner, but I rate it a mirror image of E.E

  5. Nick aka The Doctor

    As always kudos to your podcasting prowess – love it and it keeps me sane in tough times

    Warriors Gate

    One of the classics. It’s a culmination of the e-space trilogy and we say goodbye to Romana (sob) and K9 (sob sob) – a real shifting of the elements of Doctor Who. This is my favourite period of classic who. The story is enigmatic, incorporates time travel in a constructive way and the psychic wolfmen (Tharills?) piloting the ship, the time winds etc are great storytelling tools. The story introduces the idea of time sensitives into the whoniverse, and the surreal nature of the story and the time elements really deal well and accessibly with great concepts of time travel and espace.
    Romana is great in this one, I’m sad to see her go, and also K9 but it is a fitting end for them. In terms of the plot…it is rare when the doc meets a race who appear to be his equal or an unknown quantity and this really comes through in the story. Adric is again an absolute blot on an otherwise amazing landscape, but overall this story neatly ties up the espace arc and is quite gripping at times. Visually it is amazing. I love the white background void area and the castle in the middle, the idea of the gate way and then the maze beyond, and seeing Romana and K9 disappear at the end is both sad and memorable. 4.7 yes – I really rate this one. No apologies from me

  6. Michael Ridgway | @bad_movie_club

    Episode One

    • Award for the grumpiest starship crew, EVER. It is particularly striking watching this straight after an episode of Star Trek Discovery – with everyone shiny, happy and hugging.
    • Likes; the hairy dude, the creepy time delay, the weird castle with the mirror portal thing, and awesome cliffhanger. Can’t wait for episode 2!

    Episodes Two to Four

    • “Oops, we are currently experiencing issues playing your video. Please try again later,” FOR FOUR FUCKING DAYS! FUCK YOU BRITBOX! £6.99 A MONTH! FOR WHAT!? WHAT I ASK YOU!?

    Summary: I hate Britbox.
    Rating: 0/5, for Britbox. Can’t comment on the episode.

    ———

    Revised (Britbox is working! I take back the abuse, most of it)

    Episode One

    • Award for the grumpiest starship crew. It is particularly striking watching this straight after an episode of Star Trek Discovery – with everyone shiny, happy and hugging. Get these guys a team bonding awayday, STAT!
    • Likes; the hairy dude, the creepy time delay, and the weird castle with the mirror portal thingy.

    Episode Two

    • Like – the guy with the ridiculously giant tricorder.
    • Beef – Romana’s relegation to a screaming damsel in distress, again. Boo.

    Episode Three

    • Poor K9 has taken a real beating this season.

    Episode Four

    • “Sorry, something went wrong. We are currently experiencing problems playing your video. Please try again later.” FUCK YOU BRITBOX, I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU!!!!!!

    Summary: some vaguely interesting ideas – the time ship navigated by giant hairy dude alien prisoners – and surreal, dreamlike imagery not seen since Mind Robber. But still, mostly dull. Maybe it all kicked off in Episode Four. Maybe.

    Rating: 2.3/5 hairy dudes being awakened/electrocuted. Sizzle!

  7. Andy Parkinson | @caffreys71

    This is the one with the loss of a Time Lady and a tin dog, extras from The Lion King and some murderous robots give us one of the stranger stories of Classic Who.
    This story is more science based and feels aimed more towards adults or at least older children with its slavery theme. Like State of Decay, it’s also great to have another story with no maniacal villain.

    Lalla Ward’s portrayal of Romana II is absolutely brilliant – she gives Romana a real sense of being alien and it’s delicious! It’s possibly her finest performance. She also gets plenty of agency and it feels very fitting as it’s her last story. Although her exit at the end feels a little rushed, at least there’s no sudden romance with a previously anonymous character.

    A strong supporting cast helps too. Clifford Rose is great as the irascible Captain Rorvik and Kenneth Cope – best known for playing the titular ghost in Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) – gives some good comic relief.

    The model work is very good – especially the Privateer, and the crew costumes give a definite nod towards Dark Star or Alien. The music is great – especially in the opening scene it lends real atmosphere. Sadly, some sets don’t stand up so well and there’s an awful lot of obvious wobbling.
    Another plus point though is there’s very little Adric!

    Beefs:

    • How does Biroc know how to pilot the TARDIS?
    • When the Doctor defeats the Gundan robots one of them drops it’s axe on the Doctor’s back with no ill effects!
    • A very unpleasant case of VPL when Lane is climbing up to inspect the warp motors
    • Romana tries to stop Rorvik attacking the Doctor…….with a clipboard!!

    The production was beset by problems, most notably the director being fired (and rehired). It led to him never working on Who again which in my opinion is a real shame.
    This story is one of those I never really enjoyed in the past, however I may have to reconsider that now I’ve watched it again. It definitely requires you to watch carefully and pay attention.

    Overall, this story is one of those times Classic Who was ambitious, and although there are flaws and things never properly explained, it’s an example of what it can do when it puts its mind to it.
    I award this story 3.9 backblast backlashes out of 5

    I’m finally getting something done! mwahahaha

  8. Matt Tiley | @Matt1701e

    No!!!! I missed the recording of your Warriors Gate podcast!!!! Bloody work getting in the way!

    I thought I’d donate my thoughts anyway. I hate this story, and still feel nauseous from the overuse of dodgy CSO.

    I have three likes:

    • The Doctor’s interaction with the Gunans.
    • That lovely bit of banter towards the end, about “If I’m not back in thirteen and a half minutes”.
    • Adric is called a “Poisonous Child”. Never a truer word said.

    Beefs (or a handful of them as there are many!):

    • The violence in this story has really been ramped up. There was the gratuitous bitch-slap of the serving wench, Rorvik strangling the Doctor, the treatment of the Tharils. Sagans dead eyes. I’m no Mary Whitehouse, but it didn’t sit comfortably.
    • Too much cheap CSO.
    • The sardonic and dour humour. This is something I feel was the undoing of classic Who, and is peppered more and more in the future of this version of the show.
    • The Tharils (basically a clean shaved Bungle).
    • Aldo & Royce. Awful and dull.
    • Dull technobabble.
    • Romana’s exit, what a waste! Just “Bye then!”

    I could go on for a while.

    Warrior’s Gate is a festering carbuncle on the E-Space trilogy, and series 18 in general.

    0.6 out of 5.

    Cheers!

    Matt Tiley

  9. Unlike the rest of the E space trilogy I saw this until only recently. It doesn’t make a lick of sense, but looks gorgeous. Someone involved in this was a big Jean Cocteau fan…like it’s right in your face every few minutes!

    The audiobook has got a lot, lot more story in it. Feels a bit of a shame that they stopped doing 6 parters because this one badly needed a few more episodes.

    Bit of a failed attempt, but not unwatchable.

    3.7

  10. Kieren Evans

    A slightly surreal one, with interesting direction and cool set design. For me, the most interesting and inventive of the E-Space Trilogy. The plot is a bit confusing on first watch but like season 26’s Ghost Light repeated viewing help. Only a little Adric thankfully, and him with the giant laser is actually fairly funny. The music is quite good.
    3.7/5, not perfect but enjoyable

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

If you haven't already... Subscribe now!

Subscribe to us on iTunes now! We're dropping a new episode every week (pretty much), reviewing Classic Who, New Who and all kinds of bonus stuff from spin-offs and conventions to Doctor Who comic books.

We last reviewed...

N128 Heaven Sent