Pirates have been attacking space beacons, blowing them apart
to plunder the precious mineral, argonite, from which they
are constructed. When the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe materialise
on board one such beacon, it too disintegrates, and they find
themselves cut off from the TARDIS...
Krotons, Robert Holmes' first Who script (admittedly
one which was developed by Terrance Dicks from an idea that
had nothing to do with Doctor Who) gives little indication
of the high-class, witty and gripping work for which he would
ultimately become famous. The Space Pirates, also from
the sixth season, isn't much better, although it does contain
the earliest example of Holmes' sense of humour, in the character
of Milo Clancey.
played by Gordon Gostelow, is an eccentric ore prospector
based upon the gold-rush explorers of the Old West. With his
decrepit spaceship, the controls of which often need a hefty
thump to get them working, and with little respect for the
rules and regulations of this home world, he is also reminiscent
of the Doctor himself.
As for the Doctor (Patrick Troughton) and his companions (Frazer
Hines and Wendy Padbury), they get a smaller role than usual,
as the guest characters, including Space Corps General Hermack
(a rather stilted performance by Jack May), take centre stage
instead. The TARDIS crew don't even arrive until 15 minutes
into Episode One. However, this story does provide an early
indication that the Doctor is rather more than a mere human,
when he claims not to need as much oxygen as Jamie or Zoe.
(The next story, The War Games would see the introduction
of the Time Lords and the first real explanation of the Doctor's
When several scripts fell through in rapid succession, The
Space Pirates was expanded from four episodes to six to
help fill out the season, and frankly the padding is noticeable.
The story drags, particularly during the final three instalments.
And it is fairly obvious, from Episode Two onwards, as to
which character is in league with the pirates.
nothing starring Patrick Troughton is ever a complete waste
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