OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 670
STORY NUMBER: 151
TRANSMITTED: Monday 16 November 1987
WRITER: Malcolm Kohll
DIRECTOR: Chris Clough
SCRIPT EDITOR: Andrew Cartmel
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 5.4 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Delta and the Bannermen
The Doctor rides off with Mel & Burton. Ray rescues Hawk & Weismuller and takes them to Goronwy's cottage. Billy steals some of the solution that Delta has been using to feed the fast growing Chimeron Princess and uses it to start to transform himself into a human/Chimeron hybrid. The Bannermen assault Goronwy's farm as the Doctor returns with the others to the Tardis outside the camp only to find it booby trapped. The Bannermen fall into a trap set by the Doctor, getting covered by Goronwy's honey and being stung by a mass of bees. They then turn their attentions to the camp where the Doctor puts the Chimeron Princess' singing through the loudspeaker system overcoming the Bannermen and causing Gavrok to stumble into the booby trap force shield surrounding the Tardis killing him. Billy leaves with Delta & the Princess in the captured Bannerman ship taking the captured Bannerman survivors with them as the missing coach party turns up and the Doctor returns the damaged satellite to Weismuller & Hawk.
The start of this episode has always annoyed me: why does Gavrok let the Doctor leave, and not only that but leave with his prisoners? He doesn't strike me as the type to respect a flag of truce and anyway nicking your opposition's prisoners is a pretty provocative thing to do. I find this episode lets the side down a bit. It's missing the tour party for a start and seems to be just running around between different locations. And it does really need Ray to get angry with Billy for running off with another woman and Delta for nicking her bloke. You can see how the story as written could lead into a "there's nothing here for me now, can I come with you in the Tardis Doctor?" situation, just like you can see Mel, who in her brief appearance in this story, deciding that she's happy here and wants to stay. That makes more sense than her actual exit next story!
This has been the first three part twenty five minute Doctor Who story since Planet of Giants in 1964. Planet of Giants was written as a 4 part story and had the last two episode cut down to one after filming, so this is the first story planned & written as 3 x 25 minutes.
I said yesterday that I'd not got on with Delta & The Bannermen when it first aired but it's improved for me over time and subsequent viewings. The first two episodes are better than the third, the story looses something with the death of the tourists and their coach driver. Like the Victorian matrix segment in Trial of a Timelord 13 & 14 it works better due to it's period setting & costume.
Delta & the Bannermen was novelised by it's TV author and released in 1989. It came out on video in March 2001 and was released on DVD on 22nd June 2009.