Sixth Doctor Lost Story: The Song of Megaptera

songofmegaptera

Writer: Pat Mills

Director: John Ainsworth

Producer: Nicholas Briggs and Jason Haigh-Ellery

Running Time: 1 hr. 40 minutes. (2 CD’s)

Companion: Peri Brown (Nicola Bryant)

Summary: The Doctor and Peri are captured by a whaling spaceship hunting Megaptera, a race of space whales. The ship is manned by Captain Greeg. A mysterious creature has stowed away on the ship. Can the Doctor and Peri save the Megaptera before Greeg and his crew hunt them into extinction?

Review: One of the flaws about classic Doctor Who as a whole was it was overtly ambitious. It could barely meet its budget, and it wasn’t helped when the executives began cutting it. I believe that at times, the budget and backstage politics were the show’s biggest crutch. This isn’t a bad thing, but it didn’t help. The Lost Stories are evidence of this, especially this story.  Giant outer space whales doesn’t seem like something that could be done in the Classic Doctor Who’s constraints. (It could possibly work in the current version’s environment with today’s technology)

The cast is great. John Benfield plays Captain Greeg like an outer space Captain Ahab. Nevelle Watchurst’s Stenner is very much like Starbuck, Ahab’s first mate.  Even the two security guards seem more than unnamed extras.

The Sixth Doctor does not see any glory in hunting the Megaptera, as they are endangered. Peri’s snark is a great buffer for the Doctor here, bringing back the charm of their relationship on the show. While some may criticize this story for its environmentalist message, I don’t think it bogs down this story much.

The only flaw this story has might be the scene where Peri becomes delirious and starts randomly singing American folk songs and mistaking the Doctor for his fifth regeneration.  (At least the Doctor is kinder about this than he was in “The Twin Dilemma”) It’s not drawn out, and I actually found it funny until she started singing.

Overall Review: 8/10

Continuity: During her delirium, Peri confuses the Sixth Doctor for the fifth. She mentions Daleks, which she met in “Revelation of the Daleks”. A space whale is seen in the Eleventh Doctor episode “The Beast Below”. The Sixth Doctor says that the TARDIS wanted to leave Gallifrey as much as he did, which the TARDIS confirms in the Eleventh Doctor episode “The Doctor’s Wife”.

Trivia: This script was originally designed to be a Fourth Doctor story, and later proposed as a Fifth Doctor story to star Tegan Jovanka. In this case it would’ve been the original introduction of Vislor Turlough. Its original working title was “Song of the Space Whale”.

 

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