Think back to City of Death, all that wonderful dialogue about Paris having a bouquet, like a fine wine. Wonderful stuff, eh? So to allow wines to taste their best, they have to be allowed to breathe, to be opened and given time for the air to react with the wine before pouring and enjoying.
In the case of The Fate of Krellos Nick Briggs takes on the role of oeneologist and sommelier – he crafts an excellent vintage from the component parts in episode one, gives it just the right time to breathe in the early stages of part two and pours a particularly good glass of vintage Who in the closing moments. To put it in simple terms, The Fate of Krelos is a bit of a classic – Nick Briggs truly is a renaissance man – actor, director, writer, raconteur and at his very best in this story. And what a story!
What starts off as a light-hearted interlude with The Doctor and Leela going fishing, gets more and more sinister. The cast is small, Tom, Louise, John Leeson, Michael Cochrane and Veronica Roberts with the main bulk being Tom, Louise and John – but the atmosphere, the world building the tension is superb.
Krelos is a world that has reached total connectivity, every item connected to another, this is proudly announced by the Mayor of Krelos City. The Doctor and Leela decide to do some fishing on Krelos and meet the robotic form of Geralk (Michael Cochrane) an old explorer reliving his youth through his robot avatar. But something is wrong in the TARDIS – K9 has been interfacing with the TARDIS – the console room has turned back to how it looked in the era of the second Doctor, K9 tries to warn of danger and acts more and more strangely…
Any more would give away way, way too much – needless to say the tension is ramped up, the danger level goes up to 11 and you really truly do get a sinking feeling when it finally clicks in to place as to what is going on. Long time listeners may well be able to work it out before the Doctor does, but this does not in any way spoil the enjoyment.
The performances are spot on; there is a wonderful scene between Tom and Louise where they discuss going back in time to avert the catastrophe that they witness; it is very reminiscent of the scene between the Eleventh Doctor and River Song in “The Wedding of River Song” where River says all Eleven has to do is ask and an army will come to his aid – the 4th Doctor is under no illusions about the answer he will get and a lot more cautious about changing time than his future version. Michael Cochrane is quite, quite heartbreaking as Geralk, in a few lines you can picture his life, what he looks like, how he will react to situations – Nick Briggs has the characterisation spot on. Oh, and it ends on an almighty doom laden cliffhanger so there is more to come.
Really couldn’t ask for more in a Doctor Who story, disparate threads coming together, the threat of an almighty catastrophe hanging over everything, wonderful characterisation and a story that is perfectly paced – one of the best this year so far 10/10.
Written by Ed Watkinson
There are dark skies on Krelos… and something gigantic is descending.
Meanwhile, the Doctor and Leela set off for some fishing in the mountain pools of Krelos. K9 has interfaced with the TARDIS and has reactivated the architectural configuration from the days of the Doctor’s second incarnation. In passing, the Doctor notes it could do with a good clean. And there’s a familiar piece of material snagged on the console.
Far up the mountain, an aged explorer is in trouble. Will the Doctor and Leela be able to save him and his planet? And what is it that K9 has discovered in the TARDIS?
Tom Baker (The Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela), John Leeson (K9), Michael Cochrane (Geralk), Veronica Roberts (Relly/Krelos Mayor)
Written By: Nicholas Briggs
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor John Dorney
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs