Paradise Towers

Doctor WhoThe Doctor and Mel arrive to do a little vacationing in the lush artificial paradise known as Paradise Towers, only to find that the huge structure has fallen into disrepair – and furthermore, its inhabitants have descended into savagery. The Kangs, warring factions of girl gangs, struggle for survival among the rule-bound Caretakers, the cannibalistic Rezzies, and another force which lurks in the shadows, using the mechanical cleaning robots to murder members of all of these groups. The Doctor is captured by the Caretakers, who believe him to be the Great Architect of Paradise Towers and sentence him to death, while Mel befriends Pex, mighty in his own mind and weak of stomach. The Doctor discovers that the Great Architect is indeed still lurking in his masterpiece of construction, killing off its residents before they foul Paradise Towers by living in it.

Order the DVDwritten by Stephen Wyatt
directed by Nicholas Mallett
music by Keff McCulloch

Guest Cast: Howard Cooke (Pex), Richard Briers (Chief Caretaker), Clive Merrison (Deputy Chief Caretaker), Joseph Young (Young Caretaker), Annabel Yuresha (Bin Liner), Julie Brennon (Fire Escape), Catherine Cusack (Blue Kang Leader), Astra Sheridan (Yellow Kang), Brenda Bruce (Tilda), Elizabeth Spriggs (Tabby), Judy Cornwell (Maddy), Simon Coady (Video commentary)

Broadcast from October 5 through 26, 1987

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green

Review: This very strange four-parter could have been a wonderfully dark, Twilight Zone-esque tale, since the underlying premise had all those ingredients, but in keeping with the previous story of the twenty-fourth season, it was given a very comedic treatment, which quickly did away with any tension that could have helped the story along. Only the Rezzies have any kind of sinister air to them, friendly old ladies who welcome you into their homes and then proceed to eat you. But the Kangs really don’t convey any sense of being criminally hardened gang members – they look more like stunt doubles from a Bangles video. And the Caretakers, particularly Richard Briers’ Chief Caretaker, are too bumbling to take seriously. The creature in the basement of Paradise Towers is ridiculously represented by two neon lights in the shape of eyes. The music is even a substandard series of dance grooves, a tremendous disappointment after Keff McCulloch‘s score for Time And The Rani.

One of the most baffling elements of the story is Pex. He dodged a war more because of his cowardice than any pacifistic beliefs, but the Doctor later convinces him to give his life for the cause. This is the same Doctor who, just one season later in The Happiness Patrol, establishes himself very firmly as a pacifist. It’s a curious inconsistency of character that can probably be blamed on the fact that this first season of stories was commissioned with no clear direction of the future of the show, to say nothing of who the lead actor would be.

And by the way, the Paradise Towers illustrated prospectus was apparently pressed on DVD. How prescient of the production team…