Paradise Towers (1987)

Paradise Towers is McCoy’s second story and its not a great one. Unfortunatley after the very rocky start in ‘Time and the Rani’, the McCoy era continues to stumble with another studio based drama that has potential to be a good story but is sadly let down. This is the twilight of the Classic era where the BBC had pretty much given up on the show and it was placed opposite Corotnation Street. This series suffers from lack of planning and it is in stories like this that it shows. The story is set in a tower block that is suppose to be tranquil and lovely but in reality is squalid and very grim. Wyatt had written a story that sems to be of its time when council flats and tower blocks weren’t particularly nice places to live.

The story is a good one. There is a place pretending to be one thing and the reality sees the citizens trying to get by and not fall into the hands of the caretakers led by the chief caretaker. There is a nice restricted setting which I am a big fan but sadly its not realised as well in this adventure. We also have the Kangs who are two different coloured groups that don’t seem to be able to do anything and then we have the Rezzies. The Rezzies are perhaps the best thing about this story. Tilda and Tabby come across as perhaps a little over the top and certainly compared to other people in the story but when you realise what their eating habits are like they become slightly more sinister. Despite this, Tabby’s death in episode three is rather funny whereas Tilda’s is slightly more effective and that is down to Brenda Bruce.

Pex is a character was designed to look like Rambo but looks more like Rodney from Only Fools and Horses. I think that he must have been thought of as a Rambo type character but due to Howard Cooke’s (Pex) physique it just looks like someone running around trying to sound macho. When he gets to play the hero in episode four he still doesn’t quite manage to make it work which is a shame.

I don’t know why they persist on using giants robots because if they had seen ‘Colony in Space’ they would know that having large robots are usually ridiculous. When it sticks that claw out from it’s centre it just looks rude and a bit silly. Then there is a strange creature we see in episode two which has two neon tube twisted to look like eyes. I know that the budget must have been non existent but surely they could have done better than this.

My opinion of Mel hasn’t changed compared to others. I still think that the way she talks to other characters is particularly annoying. I cant believe that she doesn’t sense anything’s wrong with Tilda and Tabby, almost makes me wish that they had eaten her. Her constant screaming was one of the reasons why I disliked the character on TV. Yet when you hear her Big Finish stories, you can see what the character could have been like without the screaming. Sylevester McCoy is unfortunately very inactive in this story. He is pretty much left to wander around for these four episodes and it’s due to the script. It wouldn’t be until the next series where McCoy’s Doctor would start to find its feet.

Richard Briers has the Hitler moustache and dresses like someone who shouldn’t be crossed however the performance totally contradicts this and it has more to do with the voice used by Briers. Even when he is taken over by the Kroagnon he still manages to ham it up to a point that it becomes silly. Briers deserved better and unfortunately there was nothing that was going to make this character better.

The threat that reigns over this story is rather silly and its hard to imagine that the Kangs would have managed to ever overthrow the Caretaker without the Doctor and its always an issue when I don’t want the good guys to win. I found none of them to be likeable which is never good in this type of story.

Paradise Towers is part of the worst season of Doctor Who. It’s due to the fact that the end result lets down some good elements that I feel slightly disappointed with this story.


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