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It’s colonialism in the garden of Eden meets a Commedia dell’Arte rendition of Transpotting

The setting is a jungle planet called Deva Loka. The protagonists are a few humans looking to colonise all over the place and a group of native people, the Kinda. The humans seem to have fallen out of the “good old days” of British Imperialism and don’t show the Kinda a lot of respect. All apart from science officer Todd, who suspects that they’re a lot more advanced than they would seem and are even capable of telepathy.

Todd is bang on the money, of course. Not only are the Kinda capable of telepathy, it’s their main form of communication. There’s obviously going to be some conflict here then, with these backwards-looking imperialistic humans and a hippie species that’s in harmony with their planet. When you throw in the Mara as well, an evil parasitic gestalt that quickly uses Tegan as a conduit into our world, Doc’s going to have a hard time turning the heat down on this pressure cooker.

Here's what we think of C119 Kinda

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

2.8

Jim | @jimmythewho

3.9

Here's what we think of C119 Kinda

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

2.8

Jim | @jimmythewho

3.9

Here's what you think 17 Responses to “C119 Kinda”
    • Hey dude!
      I’m definitely going to read up on this properly, because I’m ashamed to say I know practically nothing about Buddhism. In fact, might try to get my hands on that paper Jim mentioned…
      Cheers,
      L

  1. Steven from Canada

    After Nyssa faints for no apparent reason the Doctor and crew decide to take a load off on a seemingly pleasant planet. As can be expected with this set up not all is as it seems. The native population; the Kinda, are being studied by invading colonists who think “It ain’t half hot Mum!”

    But everyone remembers it for the big pink snake.

    There are some moments that hold up better and that I found much more enjoyable. Tegan’s trip to the dream VOID was very surreal. The people within were incredibly disturbing, especially Eminem’s snake tatted Shakespearean ancestor. Needless to say I love these moments.

    There is an extreme disconnect however between the nightmarish dreams and the comparatively jovial colonial material. The story seems to lack an aesthetic and thematic through line. I found it to be somewhat of a mess.

    Costumes look great, though are a bit on the nose, with the “savages” in skirts and colonists in jackboots and pith helmets. The sets were also well made and even the effects, though they don’t live up to the writer’s vision, are certainly ambitious and hold up better than those in many other serials.

    Overall the story is a bit messy and not as enjoyable as I had hoped. It earns 2.5 overexposed Tegan clones out of 5.

    Steven from Canada

  2. Ed Corbet

    We see a problem that besets classic Who; writers often don’t know about companions leaving/arriving when the story is written, so fast re-writes are needed. Thus we get abrupt departures (see Romana) and here Nyssa and Tegan are written-out for most of this serial, with Todd doing most of the companion work, presumably because it was faster than writing them in properly.

    We are introduced to the 3 survivors of a pre-colonisation expedition. I thought they were eccentric caricatures; I hadn’t seen anything yet. The Doctor cheekily invites himself for food and then gets Adric to eat both portions (presumably checking for poison).

    Episode 1 does a good job of setting up mysteries (who are the sinister dream-people? What’s with these natives? What happened to the crew? (Actually yes, what did happen to the crew?))

    Hindell’s job is to add threat early-on and is then moved aside so he can’t interfere with the main plot. This is done in such a poor way; if you can have 3 people in a scene and Adric is the least annoying, you messed up.

    Davison’s gentler Doctor endeared him to me as a child, but it makes him so passive in this story that he seems incapable of action; even Hindell becomes a significant obstacle. His younger selves would have just charmed, confused or karate-chopped their way past him.

    I guess that snake’s the best they could do; it’s painted nicely though.

    Starts well, but over-focus on annoying characters makes it drag.

    2.5

    Ed Corbet (or Corbay?)

  3. Kieren Evans | @kjevans2

    Hi folks

    I get the feeling that this is a marmite story for the fans, and just like the spreadable yeast, I like it. Definitely a case of the show trying things, we have heavy doses of psychological horror combined with colonialist overtones to give a very unique atmosphere to this one. Though entirely studio bound, I feel the jungle mostly works. Peter Grimwade directs well in his third story which was plagued by technical issues, though in the finished programme they aren’t that noticeable.

    The scenes in the Mara’s dreamscape are very trippy, and Hiddle’s descent into madness is quite impactful. Heavy on Tegan and Adric also has plenty to do, Nyssa sadly not. Apparently the script was written before the companion lineup was confirmed. Thus the writer had to pull a Moonbase and have Nyssa out of it ill for the majority of the story rather than rewrite everything. Actually I mostly like Adric in this one as while he does side with Hiddle, it’s made very clear that this is a ploy and not for real.

    I like how the sonic screwdriver is taken out of the story to help Nyssa and the Doctor says the fateful words of “What would we need it for?”, which of course is at the start of the story but still, lol. Really, the only thing that lets it down is the really ropey giant snake. Apparently, the aforementioned technical issues forced them into having to do it like they did. 4/5 psychic jack-in-the-boxes.

    Kieren

  4. Peter Zunitch

    Kinda might as well be the definition of dichotomy. For every wonderful element, there’s a totally cringeworthy “WTF were you thinking?” to go along with it.

    Happy Kinda: Tegan is great. Adric is actually good, until he unfortunately is given the same line to say 40 times in a row. “Can I go walkies please?” Davison is a joy to watch. The supporting cast is exceptional. The exploration of the mind. The differentiated insanity. The layers of controversial issues. The artistic design. The box. The Jester. The idea of the Mara.

    Not We: I find it funny that with three companions, the doctor spends all his time with someone else. Who put stupid stampy feet on the robot that clearly rolls along on wheels. Plus 10 for symbology but seriously, a box made from twigs? That’s your plan? Aris’s inflatable rubber snake. Please Blu Ray, just one modern computer animated serpent, please!

    Kinda explores both the literal and figurative loss of the mind, and does it so much better than modern who’s seasonal “mental health” episodes. I understand why this isn’t going to be everyone’s favorite. Nevertheless it somehow has great rewatchability. It’s not full of action, but it’s such a beautiful and headstrong character study. There are indeed several layers of genius, but honestly there are some things here that might make me embarrassed should anyone see me watching it. Still, I must be out of my mind because I rather enjoy this story.

    What’s in the box? It’s a 3.3

  5. Kristaps Paddock

    Having trashed the Davison era in my Castrovalva review, let me say that Kinda is one of my favorite of all Classic Who serials (I told you there were things to look forward to). In the past, colonialism stories have been about morality and justice in a material sense, but here the focus is on the personal and psychological effects of colonialism. Hindle is one of Who’s most effective, best acted people who go crazy, and even Tegan has a great storyline as we delve into the nothingness, then witness her come back as evil (sexy?) Tegan.

    There are big nods to Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now, but Kinda has enough original material that’s not strictly a cut and paste job, and the references to other works don’t stop there – apple in the Garden of Eden, anyone? Additionally, the script explores an alien culture and religion in a depth that Who never has done before – it’s practically an anthropology class in Kinda culture. In all, there is so much to appreciate here. I still can’t quite love Peter Davison, but I love this story. Four point five people who can’t be mended out of five.

  6. Tracey from America | @yecartniatnouf

    Let’s get to it!

    I think I’d like to assess personalities:
    Adric is around to make the rookie mistakes. And he is always ready to be deceptive. Do a lot of companions do this? It feels unique.

    This Doctor is polite and quiet to the point where it puts you off your guard. I love this approach because it’s fantastic for people you like and want to be nice to. It also works well against opposition who are not expecting such polite demands, and sometimes gets results.
    Tegan holds on for an admirable length of time against the Mara. She’s in there for like two days. And Doc is very short with her. Adric a bit worse. Tegan is fantastic.

    A note to the podcasters: ok, you guys can stop giving the companions hell for touching things. In Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, Amy has a line about how travel with the Doctor means you show up and “push buttons” and I bet you both ate that up.

    Rating:
    Anyone ever told you to ask a lot of questions?
    It’s by training; I’m a scientist.

  7. Andy Parkinson | @caffreys71

    WHAT.

    THE.

    FUCK?

    Either those 2 paracetamol I’ve just taken were really LSD or this serial is one of the most bonkers bat-shit stories ever!

    Something of a jumble of stories mixing mysticism, an allegory about colonialism and an officer going full on Colonel Kurtz.

    It’s a pretty interesting idea, but sadly the end result just feels so muddled I’m not sure what it was actually trying to achieve. That’s not to say it doesn’t have some plus points. Peter Davison finally seems to be finding his feet and settling into the role. Antipodean ass-hat Tegan is a key part of the story and at least it stops her incessant shrieking and moaning about getting back to Heathrow! Her dream sequences are very effective and quite spooky and she does a good job pretty much throughout. Adric is….well….ok and could almost pass a functioning human being!. It’s the guest cast with some stellar names that really shine though. There’s Richard Todd – Guy fucking Gibson!!! – is wonderful as Sanders (according to Tardis wiki Matthew Waterhouse apparently tried to give Richard Todd (oscar winner) some acting advice! However, it also says later this is a myth so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt), Nerys Hughes is brilliant as semi-companion Todd, Mary Morris is also great as the blind wise woman and Simon Rouse is superb as Hindle as he goes totally kookoo bananas and descends into madness.

    Also, I’m sure Jim would have already spotted that the Trickster is played by Lee Cornes who would later play Paranoia in Red Dwarf.

    The colony base sets look fantastic, which is more than can be said for the jungle which is a far cry from those seen in Planet of Evil or The Face of Evil. The TSS – It’s a wardrobe on wheels it’s equally crap.

    Lots of the other special effects are great though, and it’s a shame that they’re all betrayed by realisation of the Mara snake in the final episode. It’s totally shit!!!

    All in all, Kinda is a valiant attempt to make an interesting and complex story that just fails to pull it together or realise it properly. I can’t say it’s a favourite story but I admire its endeavour.

    I award this story 3.5 out 5 indigenous tribespeople who look like they’re in a shampoo commercial.

  8. Tanz Sixfingers | @Tanz6fingers

    Greeting Who Back When team!

    While Kinda feels the least like any other Doctor Who story I can remember, it is still very good science fiction. (This was only the second time I had seen it; the first was in 1982 when it first aired.) I know you have been yearning for women with agency, and Kinda definitely delivers on that front! From Tegan going all introspective on us, to Scientist Todd being the only one of the Not We to keep her wits, to the blind matriarch Panna who knows more than anyone else around. The men of the Survey Team get reduced to boyhood and the men of the natives just don’t speak at all.

    The Mara as an antagonist lends this story a truly tribal feel, as is it a real demon, or just an ancient idea that hasn’t been able to gain purchase in reality? Adric once again plays devil’s advocate by trying to appeal to the apparent bad guys, but fails at escaping and just ends up in more trouble.

    The new Doctor’s personality finally begins to emerge, and he seems to treat his companions more as individuals than the Fourth Doctor did. I loved everything about this serial except that Nyssa was missing from it. Production and sound were great, the TSS was nice, the acting was good all around (except maybe Aris after being possessed by the Mara).

    My rating 4.5 giant imaginary snakes out of 5!

    Trivia: Nerys Hughes, who played Todd, was also in an episode of Torchwood.

  9. Neil James | @neilandrozani

    Greetings Leon and Jim,

    Loving your work and dedication so cheers!
    For the first four lines of my mini I would like Leon to play the Producer and Jim to play Nyssa. Break a leg!

    Producer – ‘Nyssa, are you excited for Kinda?’
    Nyssa – ‘Oh, definitely!’
    Producer – ‘Well, tough shit. We forgot to put you in the script. Have a kip in the TARDIS for a month, yeah?’
    Nyssa – ‘WANKER!’

    Tegan’s dream sequences are genuinely freaky and I think Janet Fielding does a much better job this week. She’s brilliant (and a little bit sexy) when she’s under the influence of the frightening Mara snake. As for Adric – well he spends another story being bollocked by everyone for being such a fuck-up.

    Davison is doing fabulously, and has superb chemistry in this story with Todd, the saucy cleavage-showing science officer. What a good companion she would have made!

    Panna is another very watchable character and I adore the OPEN THE BOX cliffhanger.

    If you have the DVD then I recommend watching with the CGI effects on – it improves the Mara-in-the-mirrors sequence 100%!

    But the best thing about Kinda has to be Hindle, played by Simon Rouse. It’s a stand-out performance that could have easily been a bit silly in the hands of a lesser actor. Rouse sells the complete mental breakdown of Hindle with tremendous skill. The childishness, anger and paranoia are spot on. I’m always glad Hindle gets a happy ending (and I don’t mean being tossed off by Adric in a deleted scene!).

    Yes, there’s no getting away from the fact that this is a studio jungle but quite frankly I don’t care because this is a really strong story.

    Rating – 4.2

  10. James Ashley | @JamesAshIey

    Kinda is one of my most favourite serials throughout Doctor Who. An edgy score and great background production compliment an intriguing and experimental story that explores concepts from religion as well as delving into mental state. Performances are excellent in a classic serial from the Davison era, with Hindle and Sanders going down as particularly memorable characters with vibrant portrayals.

    Though Nyssa is sidelined in this serial, I am not too bothered as it allows the plot to move at a steady pace. I can completely understand anyone who doesn’t find this episode their cup of tea, but for me this is pure, undiluted Doctor Who gold.

    Overall: 4.8/5

  11. Michael Ridgway | @bad_movie_club

    Likes:

    • Tegan in freaky bonkers Mara dreamland.
    • Looney Hindle – very entertaining.
    • A giant pink rubber snake!

    Beefs:

    • The Doctor being nonplussed about the colonists taking hostages. That’s a really small cage and it doesn’t even contain a bucket!
    • I don’t see how you can sleep for two days straight and not wet yourself.
    • ‘I feel so useless,’ correct Adric. Nissa was less useless than you and she wasn’t even in the story.

    Rating: 2.3/5 whinging Tegans in Mara dreamland complaining about ice-cream or some nonsense.

  12. David E

    This was one of the first novelisations I ever read so I’ve got previous with this one. The sequences in Tegan’s head scared the crap out of me at 8 years old!

    Very sophisticated and full to the brim with symbolism and clever little ideas.

    I love it that the TARDIS, Nyssa, Adric and The Doctor are all represented in Tegan’s mind, just twisted carnival versions of them.

    All the Kinda tribespeople are named after aspects of buddhism.

    There’s some Christian symbolism in there as well. The snake in the garden, Aris covers a part of his body with leaves out of shame, the colonists aren’t allowed to eat the (forbidden) fruit. The list goes on and on.

    Simon Rouse’s performance as Hindle is electrifying. Adric gets something sort of useful to do and Janet Fielding really shows some amazing acting as Tegan and as the Mara. Apparently one of the Kinda children is Johnny Lee Miller from Elementary. Nerys Hughes as Todd is great as the companion of the week…I kinda wish that The Doctor left all of his companions behind and went off with her.

    The giant snake at the end doesn’t bring it down for me. The DVD has got a CG version, that sorts it.

    On another level. One of the best ever. Classic or new

    5

  13. Paul Waring | @pwaring

    Kinda makes me a feel a bit like the Matrix film – I didn’t really understand what was happening on my first viewing and needed several rewatches to fully grasp every aspect of the story. Thank goodness for VHS (alas, I am old enough to remember them) and DVDs, as I think I would have been very confused if I’d watched this on first transmission.

    I think this is a really good story of Tegan – she gets to explore a different side of her character and shows that she can be more than just an air hostess grumbling about getting home. The Mara scenes in particular are wonderfully creepy, and I especially like the effect they use to adjust the colours and make everything seem a bit pale. It clearly defines the dream scenes, without resorting to wobbling or blurring the picture.

    Some of the inter-character relationships made me chuckle, in particular I love how the Doctor is referred to as “the idiot”. I do think it’s slightly hypocritical of the Doctor to admonish Adric with “there is a difference between serious scientific investigation and meddling” though, given the Doctor’s record in that department.

    The only questions I have at the end are why the male Kinda can’t speak and why the contents of the mysterious box don’t affect women – I’m not sure an explanation is given for either of these.

    Overall, Kinda is a decent story and worth of a solid… 3.5/5

    • Hey Paul,

      So sorry we didn’t read your mini on the show. I only just found it in our spam folder, and that was total serendipity because I was looking for (and found) something else in there as well! I’m particularly sorry, as it’s a solid mini and there seems to have been some serious telepathy going on between the three of us, haha!

      You raise a good point about Tegan actually. Not sure we gave her the credit she deserved in our review.

      Thanks for sending this in, amigo! And sorry again. We’ll be more vigilant in future.

      Cheers,

      L

  14. Peter Zunitch

    Kinda, a rebuttal

    I wish I could have prefaced this ep for you with one word, and one sentence. The word? “Symbology”, nothing is exactly as explained. The sentence? “You’re not going to get this on the first, second or possibly even third rewatch”. It’s all there, but you need to think about it, and watch, and think again, and rewatch. Below is what I’ve gathered over many many rewatches.

    “The mirror captures the soul” = Allows a mind to touch the minds of the men in the tribe. Hindle establishes a telepathic control over the tribesmen.

    The Kinda are a centuries old race that once were (and still are) incredibly advanced. However they have reverted to a primitive lifestyle, presumably in some way holding on to that previous intellectual growth. Presumably their reversion has something to do with the repeated cycle of the Mara returning.

    All women in the tribe talk. Only one in every generation is worthy of becoming the successor to the elder tribeswoman. She is then raised and trained (presumably with many years of mind links) to become the leader when the previous one dies.

    The box, a healing device for minds that are broken, however a mind on the edge can also be tipped out of balance. For the women, for some reason, it does not work the same way. (presumably this is a comment on male aggressiveness).

    The place of dreaming is a set of chimes giving off specific harmonic frequencies meant to aid in meditation and expand the mind, also amplifying telepathy. Tegan dreams alone, her mind reaches out and finds the Mara. The black lodge is in the dark places of her own mind, a place every mind shares.

    The chess players are aspects of Tegan’s subconscious. (One of the other listeners states they represent Adric and Nyssa. I had never thought of it that way but it’s fascinating.) The clown is the Mara (Doctor representation?) invading her mind, manipulating every thought to get what it wants.

    I’m only 35 minutes into the podcast, but I’m going to stop here. More to come? Possibly. Why? I love this story and I want everyone else to see what I see. (you think this is confusing, wait until Ghostlight).

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