Saturday, 12 June 2010

The Gunfighters


  1. The Gunfighters is a refreshing change of tone after those Toymaker shenanigans. It harks back to the historicals that so divided the mission in the first two series. In fact it's no surprise to note that it's written by David Whittaker, who penned The Myth Makers.

    Like the Myth Makers (and The Romans before it), The Gunfighters features a mix of comedy and brutality. The humour of Steven and Dodo's efforts at entertaining the Clantons are offset by the uncomfortable scene where Steven is nearly lynched.

    Having knocked Purves and Lane in my last notes it's only fair to say that they are great throughout this story, while Hartnell is really on fire for the first time in weeks/episodes. The sets are impressive, the script is good and Rex Tucker directs with pace and panache, using some lovely angles to really get the most out of the set.

    Apart from the odd dodgy accent the guest cast are excellent, particularly Anthony Jacobs, Sheena Marshe, Lawrence Payne and David Graham (he of the Dalek voices).

    "The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon" is an unusual and surprising feature but enjoyable, and quite funny in later episodes.

    I did find the Doctor waving a gun around awkward - even with his protestations.

    I enjoyed The Gunfighters a lot, and consider it a highlight of series three so far. The previous historicals seem to have unexpectedly divided the Mission so I look forward to seeing what everyone else thought.

    Better than - The Myth Makers
    Not as good as - The Romans

    PS - First! I'm first for the first time ever. I win, hoorah!!

  2. A lot of characters are introduced in the first ten minutes, so it's a bit confusing at the start. But that, of course, is not the most confusing thing.

    The fact that we have a sung narration over the course of the story is, I think we can safely say, a bit weird. It takes a bit of getting used to, but is interesting. I like it, but it's still odd. Particularly nice was when Steven reprises the song at the end of the first episode.

    Like The Celestial Toymaker and its evocation of childhood fears, the musical narration really feels like it's trying to move Doctor Who out of its comfort zone. And that must be down to new producer Innes Lloyd. Very much looking forward to see what else he comes up with.

    This is written by Donald Cotton, who also did The Myth Makers - a story I didn't get on with, so I was pleasantly surprised by this. The strong threat of violence is always looming throughout, and there are some fine cliffhangers with the lynching of Steven being a prime example.

    Bill Hartnell also seems to be particularly enjoying himself here. It should also be noted that I am particularly fond of the Doctor's hat in this story.

    The Doctor introduces himself as Doctor Kelly Garwin, the first time that he's adopted a false name. (I think we can safely assume it's false given that we saw him make up names for Steven and Dodo a few moments before.)

    Dodo seems to be getting posher with every episode she's in. At this rate I shall expect her accent to be cut-glass by the time she leaves the series. As for the guest stars' attempts at a US accent?

    Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear.

    Oh dearie-dearie-DEARIE-me.

  3. ...In fact it's no surprise to note that it's written by David Whittaker, who penned The Myth Makers.

    An indisputable fact in every sense. Except that it was in fact written by Donald Cotton, who penned The Myth Makers.


  4. I must've read your review a half-dozen times without even noticing that.

  5. Afraid I have to disagree with my co-missionaires on this one. Sorry to say I find this story incredibly dull, a bit silly and frankly it's impossible to suspend my disbelief at any point. And if I did start getting into the drama I was quickly pulled out by that song, that god awful bloody song AAAAAAH MAKE IT STOP PLEASE!!!!!!

    On the positive side is the performance by Hartnell which is superb and he clearly is enjoying himself greatly. I particularly enjoy his reactions when people keep putting weapons in his hands. Marvellous.
    Unfortunately every other performance is either poor or awful, not helped by the terrible accents as Piers says. Dodos fainting reaction in the scene with Doc is an example that sticks in my mind. UGH!

    This was terrible hard work for me to sit through so I'm afraid from me it gets 3/10, all awarded for the lead performance. Sorry

  6. Unlike Piers I quite enjoy THE MYTH MAKERS so my disappointment at this is all the more galling for me