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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This story is a parable of high-rise tower blocks which, in the '80s,
were controversial, were subject to decay and social breakdown. If it
had been played seriously, I've no doubt 'Paradise Towers' could have
been an Orwell-like vision of a grim future. But this was 1987, when Dr
Who was seen as a bit of light-hearted kids' entertainment rather than
serious sci-fi. The main problem I have with this story is the villain.
I know Richard Briars is not just a comedy actor, as I've seen him in
serious roles as villains. But here he seems to be doing panto, camping
up a Hitler-like character as though goose-stepping figures of fun are
going out of fashion. The monsters are not much better. The 'cleaners'
are slow and clunky, and the 'pool cleaner' only catches Mel because
she somehow fails to notice this huge bright-yellow metal crab floating
in clear water about six feet away. The music, though nice to listen
to, is completely at odds with the goings-on.
It's not all bad, however. There are good scenes, such as the Doctor outwitting the Caretakers by use of their own 'red tape' mentality. The Kangs, with their inventive slang, are interesting, and Pex is a likable character. All in all, this story, though certainly not a classic, is at least entertaining and is thankfully free of the constant in-jokes and continuity references which bogged down so many Dr Who stories in the eighties.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Doctor Who: Paradise Towers: Part 1 starts as the Doctor (Sylvester
McCoy) & his companion Mel (Bonnie Langford) in the TARDIS heading
towards a holiday complex known as Paradise Towers with Mel
particularly looking forward to relaxing in it's swimming pool. However
once they get there & step outside the TARDIS they find Paradise Towers
in a terrible state, graffiti covering the walls, rubbish lying
everywhere & the whole place in a state of decay. They meet up with a
gang called the 'Red Kangs' who explain that there is another gang
called the 'Blue Kangs' & a bunch of caretakers who try to catch them &
repair the damage that they cause, they are then ambushed by the
caretakers who managed to capture the Doctor & take him to their leader
(Riuchard Briers) who orders his death...
This Doctor Who adventure was episode 5 from season 24 that aired here in the UK during late 1987 & was Sylvester McCoy's second story as the Doctor, directed by Nicholas Mallett I struggling to think of anything positive to say about Paradise Towers. The script by Stephen Wyatt is obviously basing it's premise around the breakdown of society & close knit inner city living, I suppose as a serious piece of work this could have been pretty effective unfortunately as a Doctor Who story it's all rather silly, the character's are moronic especially the caretakers who when they salute their leader they put their outstretched hands under their noses & do their best to impersonate Hitler which when you consider their leader is a Hitler lookalike complete with slug like moustache this comes across as utterly ridiculous, bordering on the offensive & I deify anyone to take it seriously. Mel is annoying as ever in this one, the Kang's speak in a very strange way in a sort of mixed up broken English with annoying words like 'unalive' instead of dead & 'carrydor' instead of corridor thrown in their dialogue. Paradise Towers has a certain campy fun to it but it's maybe a bit too silly & the production values aren't great & hurt the overall story.
The tight BBC budget really show's here, the sets are basic & feel very flimsy while a supposedly futuristic apartment ends up looking like something from from the 80's, in fact the whole episode looks very camp & dated. Doctor Who as a series must have some sort of fascination with Hitler & the Nazi's because every time it needs a repressive & evil organisation or group it seems to base them on them.
Paradise Towers is probably trying to say something about social breakdown but I just don't think it works that well & as a Doctor Who story so far it's been no great shakes.
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