Suffering from a serious case of moping, the Doctor reluctantly gives in to Evelyn’s insistence that he needs a vacation…in somplace like Brighton. The TARDIS manages to take them there, in the year 1936, but things are already taking a dark turn when the Doctor overhears a young couple talking about strange noises from the water. The Doctor encounters Professor Talbot, a secretive man who, according to local legend, hasn’t been seen in 15 years. The Doctor instantly senses something horribly wrong with Talbot – he’s doing the bidding of some sort of alien consciousness, while also trying to swindle the being. But the Doctor discovers that he’s facing a power that has the ability to control nearly anyone’s mind – even Evelyn’s, and even his own.
Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Maggie Stables (Evelyn Smythe), Roy Hudd (Max Miller), Doug Bradley (Professor Talbot), Chris Simmons (Albert Potter), Sally Ann Curran (Emily Bung), Martin Parsons (Billy)
Notes: Roy Hudd is a comic in his own right – and even has a place in British SF history, having played Max Quordlepleen, a comic working a packed house in the Restaurant at the End of the Universe in the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy radio series. In fact, Hudd attended the unveiling of a statue of Brighton comic legend Max Miller in 2005, the very statue that the Doctor told Miller would one day stand there.
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green
Review: Another strong period piece from Robert Ross (writer of Medicinal Purposes), Pier Pressure overcomes some of its predecessor’s plotting and pacing problems and presents us with a nicely traditional Doctor Who alien-invasion-by-possession story.
It’s got an interesting historical setting, an utterly British environment, and, as with Medicinal Purposes, the appearance of a real historical figure, Brighton comedian Max Miller (1894-1963), who routinely got into trouble with the BBC over the content of his comedy routines. Miller is in almost every scene here, and Roy Hudd – a real-life admirer of Miller’s career – plays the part to the hilt. The result is a you-almost-wish-he-could-become-a-companion character like Jago and Litefoot from The Talons Of Weng-Chiang. The rest of the cast has to come up to Hudd’s level, and that certainly helps.
Ross has a talent for picking interesting historical events and figures to feature in his Doctor Who stories, and after Pier Pressure, I’m eager to hear what he comes up with next.