OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 631
STORY NUMBER: 138
TRANSMITTED: Thursday 29 March 1984
WRITER: Anthony Steven
DIRECTOR: Peter Moffatt
SCRIPT EDITOR: Eric Saward
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Twin Dilemma
The Doctor materialises in the Tardis blaming Peri's watch for the delay. He moves the Tardis to the planet Jaconda where they find a barren landscape, ruined by the return of the Jacondans ancient foes the Gastropods. Azmael also returns to Jaconda where he explains to the twins how he intend to use their mathematical skills to move two nearby moons into Jaconda's orbit and shows them the room containing Mestor's Gastropod eggs. The Doctor moves the Tardis to the palace where Lang gets stuck in a Gastropod trail. While Peri helps to free Land the Doctor goes to see Azmael. Peri is captured by guards. Lang escapes to warn the Doctor that his friend has been captured. The Doctor is intent on rescuing her but Azmael warns she may have to die to protect the plan to free his people.
Things I liked about this episode: The Gastropod design ain't bad but this is the second time this year we've done large versions of creepy crawlies. First there was the woodlice like Tractators in Frontios and now the gastropod slugs.
Things I didn't like about this episode: virtually everything else. It's a cheap looking turgid mess.
Are the bird people, working for Mestor, meant to be the original inhabitants of Jaconda? If so it might have been an idea to paint them on the mural depicting the legend instead of human beings! How are the twins meant to move the planets using Maths alone? Yes, OK, Block Transfer Computations ala Logopolis but all they say here is Maths. Ugh.
The casting of Maurice Denham as Professor Edgworth/Azmael was quite a feather in the series cap as he was seen as a proper actor. A brief glance at his CV shows he was the second actor to play The Honourable Mr Justice Stephen Rawley, the Judge who sent Fletcher down and later ends up in a cell with him, in Porridge. (The first actor was Ronnie Barker himself who provides the voice in the title sequence to the program!) Maurice Denham is the fourth actor named Maurice to appear in this season after Maurice O'Connell, Cockerill in Frontios, Maurice Colbourne, Lytton in Resurrection of the Daleks and Maurice Roëves, Stotz in Caves of Androzani.
Playing Lt Hugo Lang is up & coming actor Kevin McNally who has gone onto much better things since. Inside the Mestor costume is Edwin Richfield who we previously saw in the Sea Devils as Captain Hart, while his Chamberlain is played by Seymour Green who was Hargreaves, the Butler in The Seeds of Doom. Finally the twins Romulus & Remus are played by real life twins Gavin (Real name Paul) & Andrew Conrad. Their IMDB entries indicate that this is their first and final acting engagement for television!
The brief Jaconda exterior scenes were filmed at Gerrards Cross Quarry, another contender for "favourite BBC gravel pit" for it's prior appearances as Telos in Tomb of the Cybermen & Dulkis in the Dominators. It'll be making a return appearance as Telos in the very next story and that will be Excellent News.