Terror of the Autons

First episode of Season 8. It marked the debut of three new recurring characters: Jo Grant, Captain Mike Yates and the Master.

First time we hear TARDIS and it’s a horsebox arriving at the circus, but wait, it’s not The Doctor, it’s the Master inside. Great into to The Master showing exactly what he was about and showing the use of hypnosis to get Rossini help him steal a Nestene meteorite

vlcsnap-2015-11-21-16h35m22s778Jo Grant similarly well introduced and The Doctor is non too happy. She mucks up his experiment damaging his dematerialisation circuit and he doesn’t have the courage to sack her from her role as assistant.

We see The Master has plans for the Nestene, overpowering Goodge and connecting the meteorite to the telescope and transmits a signal.

While investigating this, a Time Lord arrives, fitting in by being dressed in a dark suit and bowler hat but while hovering in mid-air. He warns the Doctor of the Master’s arrival on Earth. He’s got a higher degree than The Doctor. After disarming the attack, we spot a miniaturised Gooch in a lunchbox.

vlcsnap-2015-11-21-16h37m01s739We see Autons by the end of the episode, and Jo stumbles in on the Master. Again we see the Master  use his power and convinces Jo still hypnotised, to hit a guard and nearly blew them all up.

At the plastics factory, the head is not too happy of the control this Colonel Master is getting. We see McDermott’s body enveloped by a Polynestene plastic chair

vlcsnap-2015-11-21-16h36m23s813The retired owner is very upset over Mr McDermott’s death. After his attempt at hypnotising fails, the Master sneaks into his car and turns his air conditioner to its hottest setting. He gives a new sample product, a demonic-looking plastic doll that is activated by heat. This troll in the back of car is a bit laughable, it fails to kill him when he turns the heater off but leaves it by a radiator at home. The doll comes to life a second time and kills Mr Farrel, lunging at his throat with its fangs

vlcsnap-2015-11-21-16h36m39s304How much is this a sign of the times, at the circus with dancing elephants. Jo shows her worth rescuing the Doctor.

This story was debated in parliament for being scary.

The Doctor nicks the Master’s dematerialisation circuit only to find it is incompatible with the TARDIS, at least it means the Master is stuck here. Delgado has been excellent in this first story.

Nestine life can be put into anything and we see the phone line strangle The Doctor under control by the Master. It’s discovered they are triggered by short wave radio. With hundreds of daffodils been handed out, Jo investigates and a daffodil covers mouth with plastic, nearly gets Jo. This could explain the mystery deaths if they can work out where this plastic disappears too. Carbon dioxide expelled from the victim’s lungs acted to rub out the evidence of murder

Vicious, complicated and inefficient The Doctor calls the Master’s plans. The Master arrives at the Doctor’s lab, armed with his shrinking weapon. The Doctor shows that he is holding the Master’s dematerialisation circuit, which would be destroyed if he fired. As is typical with the Master hearing that an airstrike might stop his plan, he changes plans to try and kill the Doctor and Jo in the airstrike.

The Doctor convinces the Master that he’ll be expendable once the Nestenes arrive and together they reverse the radio signal.

The Doctor communicates to UNIT by tapping a Morse Code message on the bus brake pedal and UNIT calls off the airstrike.

The Master escapes from the control room, but is cornered inside the bus by UNIT troops. He pulls a Master stoke and sticks his hands up to surrender but he put a mask on someone else’s face.


Now that both he and the Master are stranded on Earth, the Doctor admits that he will rather be looking forward to their next meeting.

Really good introduction to The Master and seeing three time lords in an episode sets us up nicely for the season. The Master is menacing and thinks nothing of finding ingenious ways of killing the inferior humans. Great to see the Master and The Doctor relishing meeting each other, an equal to each other.


Rating: 7/10


A well known episode so I’m hoping for a good one. Inferno is the final story of Season 7 and the last story to feature Liz Shaw, although her departure is not shown. Despite being stuck on Earth it explored the concept of parallel universes.

Main plot is to do with Project Inferno, a plan to use the earth’s energy after drilling through the Earth’s crust.

Tvlcsnap-2015-08-05-21h08m49s189he Doctor  is also having ago at computers again. He seems to have softened a little since the second Doctor’s time, and even thinks the computer is right ahead of humans later on, nevertheless he’s mellowed. The Doctor seems to be concerned with using the output of the project’s nuclear reactor to power experiments on the TARDIS console. Doctor planning to use energy from to plant to get a trial run with the TARDIS.

Green TARDIS console, which disappears on a test run, a nightmare sequence where he’s stuck against a barrier. The energy rush shifts the console and the Doctor into a dimensional void from which he is barely saved when Liz manages to cut off the power flow.

Trouble at the plant as a worker, Slocum, metamorphosis after touching some green slime. The sound the worker makes reminds the Doctor of the volcanic eruption in Krakatoa. Stahlman refuses to stop the drilling, “Professor is a nitwit” as said by the Doctor.

Venusian karate holding him still, Stahlman cuts the power to the  TARDIS console just as Liz and the Brigadier rush back to the hut. As they look on, the Doctor, his console, and his car Bessie vanish.

vlcsnap-2015-08-05-21h10m43s842When Doctor lands there’s quite a good car chase and everything doesn’t quite seem right. The Brig is wearing an eye patch and Liz is seen with different wig on, looks like it’s a parallel space time.

More karate with two fingers ✌ and it’s nice to see Benson getting a bigger role. The Inferno project is also ongoing in this universe and is slightly more advanced. The Doctor is presumed to be a spy because of his knowledge on the project. Seems like the Earth will return to hot state it was many years ago.

On this world, a Republic of Great Britain exists, and is run by a fascist regime after the execution of the Royal Family. After  fighting the Primords, The Doctor decides that the fire extinguisher has probably stopped them so cold helps and therefore this will be used against them.

Things looking bad for this Earth, so the Doctor wants to get back to the other world and he can’t take other people over into parallel world as it would cause a paradox and shatter the space time continuum. The Doctor tries to stop them and  the countdown is stopped at 1 second before penetration.

vlcsnap-2015-08-05-21h11m27s141Primords, heat seems to have created strange hairy creatures. Love the comment “What were you expecting, a space console with Batman at the controls”. Penultimate episode finishes with lava coming close in alternative world.

Doctor explains that now that the crust has been penetrated, the planet will soon revert back to the gases it sprung from, saying they have “reached the point of no return”.

Nice new concept, Time travel, slipping sideways for a change, The Doctor noticing that free will is not an illusion after noticing that Sir Keith is found alive. Despite starting off in a coma, the Doctor manages to save the day with seconds to spare before the Earth’s crust is broken.

The Doctor seems to think the TARDIS console is now fully operational and has a go at the Brig before leaving, only to reappear on the rubbish tip. The “pompus, self opinionated idiot” Brigadeer is asked to help him get the TARDIS out of the tip.

A long seven parter but a good UNIT story exploring new concepts.


Rating: 7/10

Ambassadors of Death

Ambassadors of Death vlcsnap-2015-11-21-14h39m39s007
First episode of the new TARDIS console and it’s in colour. A rather gaudy colour admittedly. It does make a welcome return,though.

The Doctor is trying to get Time vector generator set up and gets caught in the time warp field for 15 seconds. The British Space Programme oversees the launch of the Recovery 7 probe.

Not on earth for this one, The Doctor joins UNIT investigating the recovery capsule getting into difficulties with the Mars Probe 7. The Doctor sees the this on the TV in the TARDIS and turns it up to listen to see the joining up of the two capsules, Mars Probe and Recovery probe.

The pilot of Recovery 7  makes contact with the probe but is then silenced by a piercing unearthly sound which The Doctor has heard the sound before.

vlcsnap-2015-11-21-14h40m06s274He’s really quite brash with the person in charge, but then backs down so he can get his own way and offers to help. He says there will be a reply to the message which duly comes. The reply to message came from ….. England …. London …. seven miles away. There’s a surprise, couldn’t be Florence or somewhere further afield could it.

Led by the Brig, they went to attack the warehouse. What follows is a very good UNIT battle at the warehouse.

There’s another issue, a solar flare will cause problems for the capsules and they man not survive.

Not sure how the Doctor made the video tape vanish into thin air, he’s a bit of a magician isn’t he.

vlcsnap-2015-11-21-14h41m29s766Anti-theft device somehow sticks the two people to Bessie via a force field so he gets the capsule back.

High density radiation belt, the radiation is exactly what the astronauts need.

Reegan’s henchmen attempt to capture Liz in the cliffhanger, falling into a weir badly cut but she gets rescued.

The Doctor drinking tea sitting around discussing what to do, my this drags a bit. Doctor admits to being up in space more than anyone else and so it should be him going up as he can take more G-force more than anyone else.

Very secret spy set up, and Quatermass Experimevlcsnap-2015-11-21-14h43m46s817nt so not your normal Doctor Who from last season, but still playing on the science aspect of the show.

Love the Pertwee acting from the effect of G-force.

Impressive CGI inside the ship and the Doctor floating down before walking up the corridor.

Carrington is taken away, protesting he was only following his moral duty. Seems the monsters are the army not the alien ambassadors.



Rating: 6/10

From top to bottom

Little harsh saying Coventry is a bottom, but here’s the final chapter of the journey from up top of the UK heading back down to the bottom.

First of all, we checked in the hostel that evening. We were sharing with one female and one male, from the initial smell in the room and boots etc everywhere they must have been in the outdoors somewhere today! When we met up, they were lovely and fresh smelling though. Both were German and boyfriend /girlfriend (why would you book bunkbeds though?), the woman was studying at Dundee and he had not long flown over to meet up for a few days. Her English was excellent, his less so as I guess he didn’t need to use it, better than my German! She apologised for the room and posed the question did I want heat in the room or should they keep the window open to air out the clothes! Heat please.

Little did I know how much my nose would be bombarded from the gents bathroom, many have done that triathlon today, pheweee. That coupled with stepping out the shower and the door opening on the main corridor made it…. err… Interesting.

Thai restaurant for dinner as Sue doesn’t like Thai,so good after a day like we’d had. Going back to the hostel, we entered a cosy communal living room where the World Cup England/Australia rugby game was on. Let’s just say it got a bit vocal but surprisingly many were backing England!

Back in the room we had another nice chat about places to go, what we’ve seen etc. They’re doing Ben Nevis tomorrow so we wished them well. Think this world travel talk is encouraging Sorrel to go touring the world!

Early start and a McDonald’s breakfast of sausage McMuffin for me and porridge for Sorrel. Always a good start as long as there is coffee served! Right, eight hours on the road, here we go.

Glen Coe and Rannoch Moor. Oh. My. Word. The sky was blue and the autumnal white mists were being shepherded out of the mountains.


imageWind had deserted us and we had some truly fantastic views. One minute creeping mist, the next perfect reflections of the mountains stretching out before us. We weren’t the only people stopping, the side of the road was littered with cars, everybody wanting to bathe in the beauty that was around us.


imageThe rest of the trip was a let down compared, many hours driving and my only bit I was looking forward to was trying to find that great service station. After three stops by the border, I couldn’t find it, I had failed until next time. I’d completely forgotten until now that I was going to pop to Grasmere to get some of its famous gingerbread. Nevermind, back early evening to my lovely Sue, with thoughts of a 7am start and work ahead.



Up old Ben

Me being controlling me, I’d naturally scoped the car parks earlier on to see where to park and how much. Other free ones were available but we headed for the main visitor centre . We followed after a cyclist (no 5) doing part of the triathlon, how far of the 50 miles was he through already I wondered?

The walk itself was good, jumping ahead then getting behind the same families, couples and group of Yorkshire laaaaads doing the climb.
As previously, I broke the climb into four parts

A) the scramble over rock steps
B) the shorter bit on the plain passing the lake and walking past the burn
C) the seven zigzag corners
D) the top scramble through the cairns

Section a) was a little tougher and steeper than Sorrel thought it would be but we made good progress, jumping ahead then falling behind those others we started with. Perched like a canary, we nibbled at our Sushi lunch sitting on a rock before we finished section a), passing a cameraman (filming the triathlon) on the zigzag before levelling out. Sorrel didn’t even notice him.

Section b) went better, steps and gravel underfoot made for much easier going. Walking over the burn is always such a good view.



Finally the zigzags, there were 7 or 11 if I remembered rightly but which number?After the long 3 zigzags, a quick pick up from a lemon energy gel set me up for the final sections. I was looking tired apparently according to my daughter so I must obey and have this! We were shortly overtaken by a guy running up the mountain, it was no 5 from earlier! He’s done a 2 mile swim, 50 mile bike ride and now overtook us miles away from the peak. My these guys are fit. My daughter mentioned, “so are we about a quarter/half of the way yet”. My golly yes we are. When I mentioned a 6/7 hr walk she thought this was just going up. That brought a smile to her face.

Section d) finally and remembering back to last year, I hoped for snow amongst the cairns. This was doubtful as it would have stayed here all summer, I can hope though! We did see one patch off the side of the mountain so I guess that counts. Within seconds of passing the snow there were some high spirited chaps singing their way down the mountain. They had just come from the summit, we made it!

There were loads of people up top, probably 50 plus people scattered around the observatory, cairn and the place that marked the triathlon peak. We headed to the refuge so we could peak in just as a text message came through from Sue taking an induction at the gym. What a place to get reception! Sue was chuffed I was able to send a text back saying Sorrel had just completed the climb and told everyone she could, one proud mother that :-)



Life on the peak was good with the sound of bagpipes a piping through the air.  We ahdn’t put all our layers on yet, but as it was getting a little shivery at about 5deg. Pictures and video taken, whisky was consumed and passed around to another couple of women who thought whisky was perfect for up here. Right, time to navigate past all the runners now coming up! They go at quite a pace down the rocks, and we were unlucky enough to be around a few when they fell – cue many, MANY expletives. We could almost follow a trail of some red spots all the way down!



Halfway down the zigzags, Sorrel looked thouroughly drained and cold though, the exaltation of being on top of Britain slowly draing out of her quicker than her colour from her cheeks. A hand rub and a full zip up of her sleeves to keep the warmth in was in order, even an elderly woman later stopped to see she was okay. Looking back on a photo from the top, you can see she started to lose heat quite quickly.


Before long it was all to quickly over. I admit the use of the walking sticks were very much needed from halfway down, getting rather painful by the end. But a hostel and a beautiful shower awaits me.

Off to William to meet Ben

So, I was to meet Sorrel at 10 and the only bleeding train before that was 6:02 from Mallaig. I could get to Fort William and back again before 10! This was a few miles down the road so I had to make sure I was packed up, able to cycle the thirty minutes and be ready in Mallaig for 6am. Alarm was set for 4:15am!

That said, I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep about 3:30, no good counting sheep as they were tucked up in bed. Ever tried packing a tent away with a small £1 light tied to your top, while putting all the panniers back on as quietly as possible. I had only once before but that was at 5am when it was already light.

I streaked through the streets, by which I mean my two small lights streaked through the night sky on the way to the train station. I actually arrived at 5:15 at the station and proceeded to stare at the train just sitting there for half an hour. It was time to get nervous about Sorrel’s Glasgow connection again so decided to see if Sorrel was awake. Seems she’s had less sleep than me, struggled to get more than a couple of hours on the coach.

Everything ran to plan at my end, except I couldn’t see out when going over the Glenfinnan viaduct. Boo, bet this looks great in daylight. At the same time Sorrel pulled into Buchanan Street bus station twenty minutes late and almost walked straight onto her connection. She knew much more about it than me, yes it’s the one with Uig on the front, nice to see she’s planned things, made of good stock that one.

7:25 I rolled into Fort William, only 2:35 till Sorrel arrives. Allowed me to get some food and changed at least. I tried to get changed in Morrisons, but I had to stalk out the toilets first as everyone else was using the two cubicles for the Iron man that was starting over the road. Took twenty minutes to notice only two people in there which meant I could get changed at last. P.S. I might be being stingy as there were changing facilities at the train station for 20p but I only wanted to put on knee straps!

Keen readers may have noticed I mentioned the Jacobite Express, a steam train from Fort William to Mallaig. Today it was leaving from here and it was getting ready. Great to see the puffing beast.



Calgary expo

You know when I was pensive earlier, there was a reason and that reason was those damn hills. Like a ticking time bomb, I was counting down the miles till that first set of hills.

But first, that stretch of road I did yesterday, now in reverse. On leaving Fionnphort, I encountered a Highland cow in the middle of the road and a sheep behind as it’s back up. These animals are one of my daughters most disliked animals. Luckily, my compact camera was now charged, and I recorded the whole thing on video. That’s one sheep I’ve pestered so far.

The route back along the route to the east was nice, despite me suffering second day razor saddle pain. Having to change hand positions, being bent over all help unfocus the mind. One I’ve turned back towards the west on a new road, I wondered will the hill pain be worse than saddle pain? Before the hill, I took the opportunity to get plenty of food in and an energy gel for good measure. Looking up into the tree in the distance, was that a Buzzard looking into the bay, or perhaps a White Tailed Sea Eagle. I zoomed in with my camera but I still can’t tell, looks small for a WTSE .

Now the dreaded hill which was alright, speed ranging between 5-8mph. I cycled past the Sea Eagle bird reserve which I thought was miles away from here. I’d have loved to have popped in had I known. Gives more credence to that being a Sea Eagle two miles down the road!

At the end of this hill, there was the look down across Loch Ba and the many islands. There’s not much a better view of islands that this, I could even make out Staffa where I was strutting about on earlier on.

Lovely downhill, and a coast road that went on for the next 20 miles around the bay. I could be reincarnated as a hedgehog and live here and be happy. Scrub that, I saw three dead ones on the road today.


In the middle bit, there was even a nice wooded section, well half of the road was that was battered by the wind.

By Uig, I thought it was going to get a bit hillier. The boat man earlier said “don’t worry, it’s a coast road” But I was worried, this was tougher than the other road. Just because it’s a coast road, if it doesn’t exactly map the contours of the land, there will be headlands. I think the many French motorcyclists going the other direction were secretly laughing as they powered down the hills compared to me.

The views were spectacular though, higher than most of the areas I could see around me.


One final push, around the coast road (more hills!) before I had to cut back inland to Calgary Bay. I was already high up, so it couldn’t be bad could it. WORST BIT SO FAR. 3 miles of inclines to the top of a mountain, many over 15% I’d guess. I think I went from 150-600ft very quickly.

I had to stop multiple times but got back on after my pulse returned to less than 160. They had adverse camber on the zig zags so most the time I was on the other side of the road. Just one more corner I kept saying. Drill a hole through the hillside now please, it really hurt.

The evening glowed as I arrived at the bottom, a hidden gem called Calgary Bay.
Just got my tent up before the light was lost.

I’ve just broken my wild camping cherry if you know what I mean. Every bit of clothing was put on because it was going to be cold. But I was on a beach under the stars.

The couple next to me were fantastic. We chatted about different rides he had done, her love of photography (they missed getting a shot of the Highland cow in Fionnphort this morning but saw the same one that blocked my way!), last shop seen today was in Fionnphort, how annoying it was when people don’t acknowledge letting someone past (think I passed the test about 20 miles before!) and Japan.

They also brought out a camping stove to heat my camping boil in a bag hotpot. The other campervan here let me store their dogs, suck the heat from their van and have me flapjacks he’d not long made. These touring people are ace.

As it was now dark at 8:30, and I mean proper dark skies dark, they all went to bed. I sat up eating jaffa cakes, feta cheese, olives and whisky – it’s medicinal to keep me warm you know. I’m sitting on a park bench writing this with the sea lapping in front of me, visible milky way above, midges that have gone to bed finally, and surrounded by sounds of cows, owls and many other night sounds. This is immense. Just shame I’ll freeze my butt off tonight but you take the good with the bad.

No contact with Sue for a day as no phone signal. Hope she’s not too upset, but what can I do. No signal, one shop 70 miles ago, it’s very remote!

Time to turn in, and it is 9:30!