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Doc and Ace appear on Ragnarok’s Got Talent and allegedly it’s an allegory of Doctor Who itself

I’m reading this intro and I’d like to say… nope, the rapping stops right now! Ahem. The circus is in town and anyone who’s anyone is paying it a visit. Well, if you think a Vandal with a Batwing helmet or the World’s Most Annoying Fan are anyone that is. Of course Doc and Ace will be popping by as well, so it’s a good thing that Doc’s been practicing his juggling but not such a good thing that Ace hates circuses, especially the clowns.

Clowns are about all this circus has to offer, unfortunately. Unless you count the sinister talent competition, the previous acts that have tried to leave and died or gone mad in the process, the visiting explorer Captain Cook and his girl Friday (aka Mags), and the audience that just consists of Mother, Father and Creepy Girl. Something is afoot with those last three, if the naming didn’t clue you in but, to be perfectly honest, I haven’t the foggiest about that!

Here's what we think of C155 The Greatest Show in the Galaxy

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

0.4

Jim | @jimmythewho

1.0

Here's what we think of C155 The Greatest Show in the Galaxy

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

0.4

Jim | @jimmythewho

1.0

Here's what you think 11 Responses to “C155 The Greatest Show in the Galaxy”
  1. Peter Zunitch

    There is great derision with this circus act. How can one talk about it without being wrong? It’s brilliant… and it kinda sucks. The setting is wonderfully minimalist, but it’s also dull. The acting is often stiff, but every performance is done with such care. The story makes no sense, and yet it’s very deep and fascinating. Nothing is adequately explained, and yet it just works as it is, for what it is, and it all makes sense… maybe.

    In retrospect it is quite obvious that this was meant to be part of a much larger ongoing storyline; One which the doctor has known for quite some time, but the audience is only learning of now. It probably doesn’t excuse the inability for this to stand on its own, especially since most of that storyline never did come about, but it does make me less irritated.

    This would be a great one for a retro rewrite. Imagine reducing part I’s slag, where nobody actually gets to the circus, and instead explore more of the caves. Then you could, you know, actually explain why Norse Gods are so bored in the first place. The rest of the time would be spent on rounding out the characters. They are all so good it’s a tragedy we never get to explore them in greater depth.

    Do I love this or hate it? Both. Neither. What day of the week is it? Let’s compromise, 2.5 extremely agile, ancient God worshipping evil robot alien clowns.

  2. Neil | @neilandrozani & @neiljamesactor

    Oh my lord chaps, the ending is really in sight now. It’s gonna be sad but I am properly pumped for your follow-up podcast Poirot Back When.

    The Greatest Show In The Galaxy:

    Lots of creepy stuff in this one – creepy clowns, creepy family, creepy killer robots. I like the large mix of different characters and I know it was an extraordinary task to get this serial made due to many behind the scenes issues.

    I do find it’s maybe an episode too long and I’m not a fan of the dodgy 80’s raps, but the Gods are really cool, the Head Clown is terrifying, and the werewolf effects are impressive.

    And finally, the shot of McCoy walking towards camera as the circus explodes behind him is still so gangsta!

    Rating – 3.0

    Neil

  3. Izaak | @msmonsteradams

    Hello!

    The Greatest Show in the Galaxy

    Whoever commissioned this story snorted a massive line of coke, unrolled the twenty pound note they had used, and told the production team “this is the budget. We need a circus!”

    This episode is bananas – Barack Obama gets killed in a wicker basket, there’s a bus, open shirt guy controls a room of half finished robot clowns to tear him to pieces!? Not to mention Captain Cook and werewolf Mags (as a teenager, I had a crush on Mags), the Chief Clown – the most threatening villain Dr Who has ever created – and that doesn’t even include the sand robot, rock gods, eye kites, Chris Chibnall on a children’s bike or the O.G Family of Blood! This is Bonkers Gonzo wild who, the Seventh Doctor’s era at its most creative and entertaining.

    5.0/5.0

  4. Steven from Canada | @SAndreyechen

    After land on a mysterious planet the Captain and Mags set out in search of the fabled “psychic circus” but thing never go as planned. A relaxing time of vaguely colonial explanation is interrupted by the usual game of catch and release. Everyday objects are not as they seem and a nuclear family determines their fate through ratings- and at this point if you haven’t figured out this one is a big metaphor for the show then I don’t think you’ll get much out of this one.

    I think this is a very interesting and introspection concept and certainly fitting for the shows 25th anniversary. While not as lazy of an idea as the Trial of a Time-lord metaphor or as farcical as the Chase this story is still a bit heavy handed in how it confronts the legacy of the show and it’s position in the contemporary tv landscape. Perhaps I’m overthinking all this but I don’t think I am.

    While many of the elements of the story are very cool, like the Edwardian suited clown (who look like if Ronald McDonald got cast in a Neville Chamberlain bio-pic) the rampant symbolism is distracting and made me loose investment.

    Overall this story earns 4.4 Overly analyzed English essays that can be written about this story out of 5.

    Steven From Canada

  5. GP Haynes | @FindingGspots (Insta & YouTube)

    Oh Dear.

    This serial is definitely NOT great, on any planet, let alone the Galaxy.

    I found it painful to watch, especially the first 3 episodes.

    It’s probably the 1st story where I didn’t enjoy Ace or the Doctor, especially McCoy…” Oh NO, I’m trapped!, how did I fall for that!”

    Don’t the writers know McCoy’s portrayal of the character yet? He is supposed to be a manipulator.

    Production was in the toilet, which if you delve deeper, there is a reason for SOME of the bad production, but come on,
    sheets hanging round the place that is supposed to represent a huge tent?

    Acting was dreadful all around. Captain Cook? the fanboy? Spare me….

    And the circus? There’s more performers than there is audience!

    The 4th episode had a few interesting points with the gods of Ragnarok, and McCoy’s magic is the highlight of the serial, save for the Spam robot in the first episode.

    Other Robots?…nope didn’t like them. Writing? Crap. Rapping? Crap

    Just….. why???

    Rating: 0.4 Men wearing dresses selling gross fruit

    Cheers

    GP Haynes

    Down Under

  6. Tanz Sixfingers | @tanzsixfingers

    Greetings!!

    In the Greatest Show in the Galaxy, The Doctor and Ace are drawn into a sinister psychic circus, where the audience participation is mandatory, and you have to be good to survive.
    I liked how the darkness of the story built, but I thought it took too long. The only character I really liked was Mags.

    The whole series can be summed as such:

    While simultaneously trying to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the show and save it from cancellation, they were trying to appeal to both the fans and critics.

    “It’s too depressing.” Then we’ll make it a crime not to be happy!

    “You never have enough female actors.” We’ll give you an overabundance of them. (see also the Kangs in Paradise Towers.)

    “The show is too dark.” We’ll make it brighter! Not a shadow to be had anywhere!

    Remember the old days? We’ll bring it back to 1963 where it all began, and give you Daleks! we’ll throw in (almost) UNIT, too!

    “The show is too violent.” We’ll take most of the killing offscreen, and only kill by the silliest of methods! Death by Fondant!

    It’s the Silver Anniversary? Let’s bring back the Cybermen!

    And of course everyone knows that Doctor Who IS “The Greatest Show in the Galaxy”!

    I give this 2 sad robotic clown faces out of 5.

  7. Derek Moore

    Completely meh. Nothing to hate, but nothing to love beyond Ace and Doc. Rating 2.5/5 somethings (too meh to even come up with a ratings system).

    Sincerely,
    Derek Moore

  8. Kieren Evans | @kjevans2

    Hi folks

    A bit meta. The circus is very much a metaphor for the show. Entertainment without sense. I like how the human form of the Gods look like they are from the 50s, probably what the BBC higher ups still thought the audience looked like.

    The Captain and Mags can be viewed as twisted versions of the Doctor and Ace. T P McKenna is really great as Captain Cook. He knows what’s going on, though of course so does the Doctor, the Seventh Doctor always knows what’s going on… And of course Whizzkid being the parody Doctor Who fan who is brutally murdered by the show. Chef’s Kiss. Let the past go, kill it if you have too.

    Oh my god, console scenes! The only ones this season.

    Shout out to the music by Mark Ayres. I really like it. You will have also heard Mark’s stuff before. He did the score for the 2017 version of Shada and has done the audio restoration for all the DVD and Blu-ray releases. The show wouldn’t sound the same without him.

    I had the VHS growing up, this I think was my first McCoy on VHS so I have very fond memories. And even now it’s a very effective and creepy story with many strong moments. Also looks fairly well considering they had to film it in a tent in the BBC car park due to asbestos in the studios and they had to film on BBC property. Anyway, 4.5/5 Massive explosions frying McCoy’s back

    Cheers

    Kieren

  9. Kristaps Paddock

    WHO GETS WEIRD, AND I’M HERE FOR IT. We’ll see this again in the next season, and I only wish we’d had more McCoy to keep this new look going. Scary clowns are not my favorite, but these ones are simply phenomenal, and the whole gods of Ragnarok ending was unexpected and well done. Four point two deadpan audience members out of five.

  10. Oli Raven | @FoggyDrWho

    Hello! So, we’re off to the circus for this self-referential season finale. Yes, writers, we see you and know what you were getting at with that Whizzkid character. We viewers also find out Ace was scared of clowns as a child.

    The Doctor gets captured, escapes and gets re-captured one too many times for my liking in this one. Come on guys, this isn’t a Pertwee-era six-parter! Nice workaround for some major behind-the-scenes issues here, mind.

    I hold vivid memories of cuddling up to my Nan for comfort on her settee during both the ‘menacing robot bus conductor’ scene and the moment in Part 4 when the Doc deliberately jumps through the psychedelic puddle in the floor to confront the real villains of the piece. The former sequence gave me nightmares for months afterwards and it’s still pretty creepy on subsequent rewatches.

    Once Seven goes through the portal however, the actual so-called ‘Gods’ of Rrragnarrrok (yes, pronounced that way by the Doc instead of “Ragnarök”) are underwhelming and though it’s neat there’s a Magic Correspondent credited for the final episode, McCoy doesn’t seem to be doing anything he didn’t already perform as part of Vision On in his pre-Who days.

    That said, the shot of him walking away from the tent as it explodes in the background is just *chef’s kiss*

    Overall – [holds up score like a creepy audience family member] 3.7 wolf girls out of 5. Grrrrowl.

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