Find Tony's full Classic Doctor Who on Britbox list of reviews here.
The last time I watched this story was on a dodgy VHS copy so first of all let me pay a little tribute to The Restoration Team for the work done on this - and other - DVD releases. There's a short documentary on the DVD, which covers that work on 'The Time Monster' in more detail.
What of the story itself? Well it isn't one of the best, but I don't think it is quite as bad as all that. It is definitely far too long. Huge chunks of episodes 2, 3 & 4 are nothing more than padding whilst the story dribbles along. The story itself follows the pretty bog standard Third Doctor v The Master pattern.
The Master seems to be an intergalactic Baldrick. His 'cunning plans' leave him trapped or requiring the Doctor's intervention to escape & this one, involving a mysterious creature called Chronos, ends precisely as expected. Another round of the Doctor v The Master ends with the Doctor, if not quite victorious, at least undefeated.
Oh & once again The Master has decided to hang about the Doctor's locality as part of his cunning plan. This time 'disguised' as Professor Thascolos. Once again, his alias is a little thin...apparently Thascolos means Master in Greek. I'm sorry but the Master is an idiot really & this is the maddest that Delgado's Master has appeared so far with maniacal laughter & shouty rants. However, he's still icily polite when he needs to be.
Jon Pertwee's good in this. Yes, I like the daisy-est daisy speech & Pertwee delivers it in a nicely subdued fashion. I quite like how calm the Doctor is throughout this story, it is a contrast to the Master's more frantic behaviour.
I'm still finding Jo Grant mildly annoying. People often criticise Bonnie Langford for being 'theatrical' but Katy Manning's performance as Jo has a certain amount of the same boundless energy. However, there's something about Jo that is quite likeable, which I think cancels out a little of the annoyance. She's certainly not as annoying as I found either Susan or Dodo after a while.
The supporting performances are pretty variable. The banter between Stuart (Ian Collier) & Professor Ruth Ingram (Wanda Moore) is a little strained when it is - I think - supposed to be witty & amusing. Whether that's the fault of the actors is a moot point. I think the script is to blame.
The Atlanteans are all either a bit wet or a bit doddery with the exception of Ingrid Pitt as Queen Galea. I can't avoid mentioning the Queen's rather impressive...décolletage. I'm not sure the performance is up to much though but The Master does a majestic job of seducing, corrupting & disappointing her in record time.
The Minotaur is OK, although he's dispatched a little too glibly for my liking & this is another story where a lot of people die but no one seems too bothered, which I don't feel helps.
The least effective thing is Chronos itself. I'm not sure what the director Paul Bernard was thinking but it is so clearly just a bloke flapping some wings about whilst dangling on Kirby wires. Therefore, Chronos seems as threatening as a chicken.
Credit to John Levene for some nice work in this story as Benton.
In the end this is a pretty average effort with a couple of good points dragged down by a few bad ones.
Tony Cross is the creator of the wonderful Centurion Blog's found HERE and HERE.
Image – BBC.