The Edge of DestructionBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 8 August 2007 - Reviewed by Adam Leslie

One of the oddest Doctor Who adventures, and some of the oddest performances in the history of the series, much of this story seems to be happening at random. Indeed, once the cause of the whole sorry affair is revealed (a broken spring, of all things), it all becomes even more baffling.

Carole Ann Ford continues to play Susan in a state of constant near-hysteria, making her probably the most grating of all the companions. If there’s overacting to be done, you can be sure Susan will be making the most of the opportunity. Every smallest problem sends her into a nervous breakdown; the rest of the time she insists on talking in that early 1960s Audrey Hepburn affectation that was so popular at the time.

So why does our bipolar friend attack Ian with scissors? Who knows. We’re led to believe she’s been possessed or is under some kind of mind control. Actually, it just turns out she’s a nut. Though it does lead to a genuinely creepy moment when Ian returns to the room to attend to the apparently unconscious girl, only to find her bolt-upright brandishing a pair of scissors.

The normally excellent William Russell is pretty disjointed in the first half – also apparently possessed, but it seems that he just forgot to act. His line readings are very odd... he appears to be attempting Beckett towards the start or something. Grumpy old Barbara holds it all together nicely though, and Bill Hartnell is at his unpleasant best.

It’s nice to see the character development of the Doctor, and you do get a real sense that he learns and changes and grows as a person from his interaction with his human companions. There’s a real feeling that this is the Doctor fresh from the stuffy insular world of Gallifrey.

This is a baffling but entertaining two-parter that opens with the main cast apparently waking up from a night of heavy marijuana usage and doesn't become much more lucid from that point on. As a side note, considering the problems this Doctor has remembering what he’s supposed to be saying, it’s little wonder he’s written the names of the controls on the console in felt tip pen.