Writer: Jonathan Morris
Director: John Ainsworth
Running Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Companion: Romana II (Lalla Ward, narrator)
Summary: The Doctor and Romana arrive on the planet Hephastos, which is supposed to be colonized by composers, painters, and authors. They discover the planet is decaying. The colonists are enslaved by an artificial intelligence known as the Babble Network. The Babble Network occupies everyone’s minds, sharing everyone’s thoughts and storing them as information. Everyone’s thoughts are so open that the Babble Network has made privacy a crime. The Doctor and Romana realize that in order to save the colony, the Network must be destroyed. There’s just one problem: They both forgot their sonic screwdrivers, and K-9 needs repairs (again.)
Review: This was a delightful story. Romana was every bit as witty as I remember, and she and the Doctor were just as enjoyable together as they always were. I loved it when Romana quipped that computers should not be treated as deities, or “the natives will be running around in skins”. (an obvious reference to the excellent episode “The Face of Evil”) They bickered constantly throughout the story, which is actually a good thing. It was so funny when they both realized they forgot their sonic screwdrivers.
The Doctor: “How could you forget your sonic screwdriver!”
Romana: “I thought you were going to bring yours!”
Romana and the Doctor quickly devise a plan and it’s fun once they start to work. Romana’s impressions of Tom Baker are hilariously on point. So far, this is one of the best stories in the series, capturing the greatness of both Douglas Adams and Robert Holmes.
Overall Review: 10/10
Continuity: Romana’s jest mentioned above references “The Face of Evil”. The Doctor mentions repairing K-9, which he had to do in the episode “The Leisure Hive”. Romana mentions Gallifreyan folklore that were plot points in “Deadly Assassin”, “Zagreus”, “Shada” and “The Power of Three”.