Doctor Who (1963–1989)
5.3/10
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1 user 1 critic

The Space Pirates: Episode 1 

Space beacons are being destroyed by pirates, who are salvaging the argonite metal. When the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe arrive on one of the beacons, they are mistaken for pirates.

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
Dr. Who
...
Jamie
...
Dervish
Dudley Foster ...
Maurice Caven
Jack May ...
General Nicolai Hermack
Donald Gee ...
Major Ian Warne
George Layton ...
Technician Penn
Nick Zaran ...
Lieutenant Joe Sorba
Anthony Donovan ...
Space Guard
...
Zoe Heriot
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Space beacons are being destroyed by pirates, who are salvaging the argonite metal. When the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe arrive on one of the beacons, they are mistaken for pirates.

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8 March 1969 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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One of the least popular Doctor Who (1963) stories, fans voted this the second worst story of the entire run in fan site Outpost Gallifrey's 40th anniversary poll in 2003. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Star Trek type western in space: One of the less successful Doctor Who adventures in my opinion.
19 September 2014 | by See all my reviews

Review of all 6 episodes:

This story is one of the lower points of Doctor Who for me. It does not have a reputation as a great story but according to many commentators it is reasonably OK. In my opinion though it is surely one of the 10-15 weakest entries in the series first 50 years. Bear in mind that I am comparing it to the immensely high standards of what I think is one of the finest TV series of all time. This story is not terrible compared to the bad TV shows out there (e.g. The Bold and the Beautiful) or even the bad science fiction shows (e.g. 10.5 Apocalypse, Flash Gordon 2007) - compared to a lot of dross on TV this is reasonably acceptable. For Doctor Who though this is very disappointing with cheesy delivery of dialogue, often unimpressive American accents and weak performances. As well as that the story lacks any real excitement or cleverness. I was a bit bored at times.

This is a 'space opera' similar to some 60s Star Trek, based around Western motifs. It has 'Space Pirates' who are like bandits, a mining company and an old prospector type, 'Milo Clancey', who some fans see as a fun and interesting character. I see him as an embarrassment with his dodgy accent, over the top acting and poor, sometimes laughable delivery of strange Western style dialogue. There is nothing of great quality or interest in any of the guest characters, the acting or the direction. One thing which is of good quality according to what evidence remains is the special effects. Almost Gerry Anderson style space ships and space stations all done very well giving some great visuals going by reviews of the original production and sequences in reconstructions. The story and script are OK, if unexceptional. It is nowhere near writer Robert Holmes later classics, but the direction (by Michael Hart) and delivery by the actors is what makes it dull and really cheesy.

Apart from the good effects, this is in my opinion one of the weaker stories in the series' rich history.

My Ratings: Episodes 1, 4 and 6 - 5/10, Episodes 2 & 5 - 5.5/10, Episode 3 - 4/10


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