Doctor Who: Season 2, Episode 15

Inferno (6 Feb. 1965)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Drama | Sci-Fi
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 123 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 1 critic

Ian and Delos manage to escape from Sevcheria and Tavius agrees to help Barbara rejoin them.The Doctor's attempts to avoid being thrown to the lions inadvertently result in Nero deciding to burn down Rome.

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Title: Inferno (06 Feb 1965)

Inferno (06 Feb 1965) on IMDb 7.9/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
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William Russell ...
Jacqueline Hill ...
Maureen O'Brien ...
Derek Sydney ...
Peter Diamond ...
Michael Peake ...
Derek Francis ...
Kay Patrick ...
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Storyline

Ian and Delos manage to escape from Sevcheria and Tavius agrees to help Barbara rejoin them.The Doctor's attempts to avoid being thrown to the lions inadvertently result in Nero deciding to burn down Rome.

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6 February 1965 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This episode was watched by 12 million viewers on its original transmission. See more »

Goofs

A close-up reveals that the coins Nero uses to pay his torch bearers are in fact metal washers. See more »

Quotes

Ian: I've got a friend who specialises in trouble. He dives in and usually finds a way.
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Connections

Featured in Doctor Who Live: The Afterparty (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

S2: The Romans: Two different things going on at once to produce some good bits they generally don't gel
2 September 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

After the brief stop to pick up another companion, the show returned to a proper 4-part serial and I was quite looking forward to getting a decent story again. This time the group travel through time and space and, although they arrive in the same place and time, there appears to have been some wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff going on because some of the land in a very serious plot where life is on the line whereas the rest of them appear to have landed into a parallel universe where Sid James is god and innuendo is the main spoken language. Specifically we see Ian in slavery and ultimately fighting as a gladiator while the Doctor, Barbara and Vicki go off into something more humorous.

It is a strange mix and it will certainly stop me complaining that the silly humour in the modern Doctor Who is something new, because this is only the second season and here it is. I don't really have an issue with the sudden shift in tone because I think it is good that it can go lighter when the mood takes it, but the problem for me was that it was such a shift and so sudden that it threw me a bit. It isn't that it becomes lighter, it is that at times it is out and out silly. I got used to this though but the issue that remained was that only parts of the story were like this and the others were more serious. This mix doesn't work and it does feel like two different writers and crews worked on the different bits and they both got different memos about what the end product should be like. It still just about works, but it does so by the silly bits undercutting the more serious bits and trying to drag it down .

The person I feel bad for is Russell; he gives a pretty good performance and really sells the danger of his situation – only for the very next scene to have a bumbling Nero make a smutty pass at Barbara 30 seconds later. Hartnell appears to be greatly enjoying himself although I did turn to Google at one point to see if he was drunk at any point. He is actually pretty funny but, like Russell, he isn't allowed to have the material stay with him to build on it. Hill somehow manages to make the bridge between both and works well in the serious bits while also having a nice comedic touch as well. O'Brien didn't make an impression on me at all here – I didn't make a point of judging her, I just realized at the end of the serial that I had hardly noticed her even though she was in it quite a lot. She seemed to giggle a lot and be silly – although she was in the silly parts of the serial, so maybe this was part of it. Francis' Nero is ridiculous but at least he goes for it.

The Romans is an odd beast; it has bits I enjoyed but it doesn't gel very well between the serious and the comedic, with the end result of them weakening each other. It is an OK serial but it needed to decide what it was doing and do it better.


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